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17-072

Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC


Member of the Legislative Council
PARLIAMENT HOUSE
SYDNEY NSW 2000

18 November 2016

Dear Dr Faruqi
Your application for access to government information
I refer to your access application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act
2009 (GIPA Act) reference: 17-072
Please find enclosed my Notice of Decision of your GIPA application.
In the Decision there is a section titled "Context" which provides useful explanatory
information on the material you have sought. This should be read in conjunction with the
document which has been prepared for release to you.
If you have any questions, please contact me, on 02 9934 0657.
Yours sincerely

Tim Jap
Senior Governance & Information Requests Coordinator

NSW Department of Industry


Level 7 Governance & Information Requests Unit
PO Box K348 Haymarket NSW 1240
www.industry.nsw.gov.au ABN: 72 189 919 072


Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009
NOTICE OF DECISION
Applicant:

DrMehreenFaruqiMLC

FileRef:

17072

Decisionmaker:

TimJap
SeniorGovernanceandInformationRequestsCoordinator

Dateofdecision:

18November2016

Table of Contents
1.

Context ............................................................................................................. 1

2.

Summary of access application ........................................................................ 1

3.

Decision ............................................................................................................ 1

4.

Searches for information .................................................................................. 1

5.

The public interest test ..................................................................................... 2

5.1

Publicinterestconsiderationsinfavourofdisclosure...................................................2

5.2

Publicinterestconsiderationsagainstdisclosure..........................................................2

5.3

Consultation...................................................................................................................3

5.4

Balancingthepublicinteresttest..................................................................................3

6.

Access .............................................................................................................. 3

Processing charges .......................................................................................... 3

Disclosure log ................................................................................................... 3

Review rights .................................................................................................... 3

10

Further information ........................................................................................... 4

Schedule of Documents .............................................................................................. 5


Table of Processing Charges ...................................................................................... 6
NSW Department of Industry
Level 7 Governance & Information Requests Unit
PO Box K348 Sydney NSW 1240
www.industry.nsw.gov.au ABN: 72 189 919 072

N o t ic eo f De c isi on

1.

Context

Informationcapturedaspartofthisaccessapplicationpredominatelyrelatestothefollowingtopics:

Nationalfocusonfarmtrespass
NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair and Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce
havejointlyhostedaroundtablediscussiontodiscusstheseriousandpotentiallydevastatingissue
offarmtrespass.

TheroundtablediscussionwasheldattheElizabethMacarthurAgricultureInstituteatCamdenand
attended by all key stakeholders in this space, including representatives from other states and
territories,NSWPolice,RSPCANSWandarangeofindustrygroups,includingNSWFarmers.

FormoreinformationIwouldinviteyouvisit:
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/598964/20150803Nationalfocuson
farmtrespass.pdf

2.

Summary of access application

On10October2016theDepartmentreceivedyourvalidaccessapplicationundertheGovernment
Information(PublicAccess)Act2009(GIPAAct).AttachedisacopyofyourapplicationAnnexureA
andmyNoticeofDecisionbelow.

3.

Decision

Iamauthorisedbytheprincipalofficer,forthepurposesofsection9(3)oftheGIPAAct,todecide
youraccessapplication.

I have decided, under section 58(1)(a) of the GIPA Act, to grant access in part to the information
requested.

I have also decided, under section 58(1)(d) of the GIPA Act, to refuse access in part to the
informationrequested.

InthisNoticeofDecisionIwillexplainmyreasons.Tomeettherequirementsofsection61ofthe
GIPAAct,Ineedtotellyou:
(a)
the reasons for my decision and the findings on any important questions of fact
underlyingthosereasons;and
(b)
thegeneralnatureandformatoftherecordscontainingtheinformationyouasked
for,withreferencetotherelevantpublicinterestconsiderationsagainstdisclosure
(seetheattachedScheduleofDocuments).

Youcanaskforareviewofthisdecision.Fordetailsabouthowtodoso,seepart9ofthisNotice.

4.

Searches for information

Under the GIPA Act, we must conduct reasonable searches for the government information you
asked for in your application. I have been advised that DPIBiosecurity have searched the
departmentsrecordstofindanyinformationthatfallswithinthescopeofyourapplication.Ihave
been advised by DPIBiosecurity that information that met the terms of your request have been
found.Insupportoftheirposition,theDeputyDirectorGeneralhascertifiedtomethatreasonable
searches have been undertaken. Accordingly, I accept his certification and am satisfied that
reasonablesearcheshavebeenundertaken.

17072

N o t ic eo f De c isi on

5.

The public interest test

Under section 9(1) of the GIPA Act, you have a legally enforceable right to access the information
youaskedfor,unlessthereisanoverridingpublicinterestagainstitsdisclosure.

Further,undersection5oftheGIPAAct,thereisapresumptioninfavourofdisclosinggovernment
informationunlessthereisanoverridingpublicinterestagainstitsdisclosure.

Todecidewhetherornotthereisanoverridingpublicinterestagainstdisclosureoftheinformation
youaskedfor,Iappliedthepublicinteresttest,whichissetoutinsection13oftheGIPAAct.

Iappliedthepublicinteresttestby:
(a) identifyinganypublicinterestconsiderationsinfavourofdisclosure;
(b) identifyinganyrelevantpublicinterestconsiderationsagainstdisclosure;and
(c) decidingwherethebalancebetweenthemlies.

Ididthisinthewayrequiredbysection15oftheGIPAAct,whichis:
(a) inawaythatpromotestheobjectsoftheGIPAAct;
(b) withregardtoanyrelevantguidelinesissuedbytheInformationCommissioner;
(c) without taking into account the fact that disclosure of information may cause
embarrassment to, or a loss of confidence in, the Government (as that fact is
irrelevant);
(d) without taking into account the fact that disclosure of information might be
misinterpretedormisunderstoodbyanyperson(asthatfactisirrelevant);and
(e) withregardtothefactthatdisclosurecannotbemadesubjecttoanyconditionson
theuseordisclosureofinformation.

5.1

Public interest considerations in favour of disclosure

Under section 12(1) of the GIPA Act, there is a general public interest in favour of disclosing
government information. Section 12(2) of the GIPA Act sets out some examples of other public
interestconsiderationsinfavourofdisclosure.However,Iamnotlimitedtothoseconsiderationsin
decidingyourapplication.

Ifindthefollowingconsiderationsinfavourofdisclosurearerelevanttoyourapplication:
Disclosureoftheinformationcouldreasonablybeexpectedtopromoteopendiscussionof
publicaffairsandenhancetheGovernmentsaccountability.
Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to contribute to positive and
informeddebateonimportantissuesormattersofseriousinterest.
Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to reveal the reason for a
government decision and any background or contextual information that informed the
decision.

5.2

Public interest considerations against disclosure

Whenapplyingthepublicinteresttest,theonlypublicinterestconsiderationsagainstdisclosurethat
Icantakeintoaccountarethosesetoutinthetabletosection14oftheGIPAAct.Toshowthatthey
arerelevanttotheinformationyouaskedfor,Ineedtoconsiderwhethertheycouldreasonablybe
expectedtohavetheeffectoutlinedinthetable.

Ihavenotidentifiedanypublicinterestsconsiderationsagainstdisclosure.

17072

N o t ic eo f De c isi on

5.3

Consultation

The information that you asked for includes information that is government and business
informationofotherorganisations.Iwasthereforerequired,undersection54oftheGIPAAct,to
consultwiththosepeoplebeforereleasingtheinformation.
Noobjectionswerereceivedregardingthereleaseoftheinformation.

5.4

Balancing the public interest test

Ihaveconsideredtherelevantpublicinterestconsiderationsinfavourofandagainstdisclosureof
theinformationyourequested.

Asnopublicinterestconsiderationsagainstdisclosurewereidentified,Ihavereleasedthesetoyou
infull.

6.

Access

YouwillbegivenacopyoftheinformationthatIhavedecidedcanbereleased.

7 Processing charges
Under sections 64(1) and (2) of the GIPA Act, we may require you to pay processing charges, at a
rateof$30perhour,forthetimespentdealingwithyouraccessapplication.Theapplicationfeeof
$30 counts as payment of onehour of the processing charges. No further processing charges are
payable.

8 Disclosure log
Ifinformationthatwouldbeofinteresttoothermembersofthepublicisreleasedinresponsetoa
formal access application, an agency must record certain details about the application in its
disclosurelog(undersections25and26oftheGIPAAct).

Intheletteracknowledgingreceiptofyourvalidapplicationyouweretoldaboutthedisclosurelog.
Youwerealsoadvisedofyourrighttoobjecttotheinclusionofdetailsaboutyouraccessapplication
inthedisclosurelog,incertaincircumstances(forexample,ifyouseekaccesstoyourownpersonal
information).

Ihavedecidedthattheapplicationwillnotbeloadedontothedisclosurelog.

9 Review rights
Ifyoudisagreewithanyofthedecisionsinthisnoticethatarereviewable,youmayseekareview
under Part 5 of the GIPA Act. Before you do so, I encourage you to contact me to discuss your
concerns.Mycontactdetailsaresetoutbelow.

Youhavethreereviewoptions:
internalreviewbyanotherofficerofthisagency,whoisnolessseniorthanme;
externalreviewbytheInformationCommissioner;or
externalreviewbytheNSWCivilandAdministrativeTribunal(NCAT).

Youhave20workingdaysfromthedateofthisNoticetoapplyforaninternalreview.Ifyouwould
prefer to have the decision reviewed externally, you have 40 working days from the date of this
NoticetoapplyforareviewbytheInformationCommissionerorNCAT.

17072

N o t ic eo f De c isi on

To assist you, I have enclosed a fact sheet published by the Information and Privacy Commission
NSW(IPC),entitledYourreviewrightsundertheGIPAAct.Youwillalsofindsomeusefulinformation
andfrequentlyaskedquestionsontheIPCswebsite:www.ipc.nsw.gov.au.

YoucanalsocontacttheIPConfreecall1800IPCNSW(1800472679).

10 Further information
Ifyouhaveanyquestionsaboutthisnoticeorwouldlikeanyfurtherinformation,pleasecontactme,
on0299340657.

......................................................................
TimJap
SeniorGovernanceandInformationRequestsCoordinator

18 November 2016

17072

N o t ic eo f De c isi on

Schedule of Documents
No. Descriptionofrecordthatcontains
theinformation

ThirdParty
Views

Sustained/Overruled Releasedor
withheld

Relevantpublicinterestconsideration(s)
againstdisclosure

1.

INT1642292FARMTRESPASS
MinisterialRoundtableOutcomes
Report15April2016

Noobjections

Sustained

Released

NIL

2.

INT1642293FarmTrespass
MinisterialRoundtableActionPlan
15April2016

Noobjections

Sustained

Released

NIL

17072

N o t ic eo f De c isi on

Not applicable

Table of Processing Charges


Date

Action

Timespent

Cost

Discount:

TOTAL:

17072

Not applicable

ANNEXURE 'A'

Dr Mehreen Faruqi
Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council

AIM
5/10/2016

Government Information (Public Access)


Department of Primary Industries

NSW Department
of Industry

Locked Bag 21, Orange NSW 2800

12 OCT 2016
Dear Madam/Sir,

RECEIVED /,
elcni Branch
I would like to lodge a Government Information Public Atcels_LGIPA),application requesting documents,
reports or plans resulting from a February 2016 workshop regarding the NSW Farm Trespass Policy. This
was referred to in an answer to supplementary question number 48 in the Budget Estimates 2016-2017,
General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6- Primary Industries, Lands and Water
(https://www.pa rliament.nsw.gov.a u/comm ittees/DBAssets/I nq uiryOther/Transcript/10303/G PSC%205
%20-%20ASQ%20-%20Primary%20Industries%2c%20Land%20and%20Water.pdf)
I understand that my request meets the requirements for a GIPA application as outlined under Section
41 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW).
I would like to request the following information:

1.

The minutes, outcomes report and action plan of the workshop referred to in answer number 48
of the supplementary questions of the Budget Estimates 2016-2017, General Purpose Standing
Committee No. 6 - Primary Industries, Lands and Water

Please find enclosed the fee.

Kind Regards,

Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC

4,

Greens NSW MP

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p (02) 9230 2625 f (02) 9230 3032 e mehreen.faruqi@parliament.nsw.gov.au


w mehreenfaruqi.org.au

@mehreenfaruqi mehreenfaruqi

Mehreen Faruqi M LC. Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW 2000

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DOC1

Attachment A
INT16/42292

FARM TRESPASS
ACTION PLAN FOR NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NSW FARM INCURSION POLICY 2014
(OUTCOMES OF THE NATIONAL FARM TRESPASS ROUNDTABLE 3 AUGUST 2015 AND FARM
TRESPASS WORKSHOP 10 FEBRUARY 2016)
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Farm Trespass is an issue of national concern which threatens some of our most significant animal
industries, and therefore warrants a coordinated harmonised approach to prevent and reduce the
impact of such incidents.
Farm Trespass in this context is a straightforward crime.
This report considers Farm Trespass incidents perpetrated by animal activists, usually targeting
intensive production enterprises, seeking to gain publicity and public support for what is essentially
an animal rights rather than an animal welfare cause. Allied livestock industries, including saleyards
and abattoirs, have also been targeted. The report does not consider trespass events for other
purposes such as protests against mining or illegal hunting.
Farm Trespass in this context involves the disruption of lawful animal husbandry practices by animal
activists in incidents characterised by unlawful entry to the premises, with associated security,
biosecurity (animal and plant disease and pest) and animal welfare risks, along with significant
personal impacts on the well-being and health of affected individual producers, families and staff of
the businesses targeted.
Some industries and individuals have experienced repeated incidents of trespass, threatening their
individual and community well-being and creating apprehension about who and where will be next
to experience a Farm Trespass incident at their business and home.
NSW has a comprehensive cross-agency policy response to the issue of Farm Trespass, entitled the
NSW Farm Incursion Policy, to address the issues of disruption of lawful animal husbandry practices
and the biosecurity risks caused by Farm Trespass.
The Policy has been accepted by the Agriculture Ministers Forum (AgMin) as a suitable basis for a
harmonised national approach to this issue, and the framework for the Policy is reflected in the
attached Action Plan for AgMins consideration as a way forward.
The Policy states that farmers have reported that farm incursions have been increasing in recent
years, and they are concerned about the impacts of such incidents on biosecurity, animal health and
welfare, family privacy and security, property damage, as well as the risk to the safety of individuals
involved if a raid is interrupted by a property owner or staff member.
The Policy accepts that where criminal trespass, and possibly covert surveillance, are a feature of the
incident, existing trespass, break and enter and surveillance laws are adequate and should be used.
However, the Policy also recognises a number of areas to target improvements which will help
prevent and respond appropriately to Farm Trespass incidents.

Attachment A
INT16/42292
Examples of such areas where reform may be targeted were identified as the adequacy of applicable
penalties, the short duration of the statute of limitations for the offence of entering inclosed lands
(this may make prosecution difficult in cases where covert surveillance is undertaken and publication
of the video footage is delayed by the perpetrator), and the collection of evidence and ensuring its
admissibility to improve prosecution success rates.
The detail of these opportunities for improvement was discussed at a Ministerial Roundtable hosted
jointly by the NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Lands and Water, The Hon Niall
Blair MLC, and the Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, The Hon Barnaby Joyce
MP, at NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute
(EMAI) on Monday 3 August 2015.
Discussions at the Roundtable have been consolidated into a draft Action Plan, aligned to the
framework of the NSW Farm Incursion Policy. This Action Plan is tabled at Appendix 1 and is
recommended to be provided with this report to the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee (AgSOC)
and Agriculture Ministers Forum (AgMin) meetings in the second half of 2016 to seek endorsement
of this national and harmonised approach to Farm Trespass.
Key recommendations from the Roundtable and subsequent Working Group note include:
1. Establishment of an industry-led and multi-sectoral working group, with whole of
government support, to coordinate the further development and implementation of the
Action Plan; and
2. Consideration of the adequacy and appropriateness of NSW offences and penalties relevant
to Farm Trespass by animal activists to be included, if appropriate, in the broader review
already underway by NSW Police, NSW Rural Crime Advisory Group and the Department of
Justice on rural crime and rural theft offences. (Note that laws around breach of privacy,
charities legislation, the Surveillance Act and use of drones relevant to Farm Trespass may
be outside the scope of this review and have to be considered separately.)

Attachment A
INT16/42292

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

Executive Summary

1. INTRODUCTION
1.1
Farm Trespass definition
1.2
Summary of the NSW Farm Incursion Policy
1.3
The four components of the NSW Farm Incursion Policy
1.4
Background to the joint NSW-Commonwealth Farm Trespass Roundtable

4
4
5
6
8

2. FARM TRESPASS ROUNDTABLE AND FARM TRESPASS WORKSHOP

2.1
2.2
2.3

Summaries of presentations
9
Findings from the Roundtable
13
Actions for immediate progression Farm Trespass Workshop 10 February 2016 15

3. FARM TRESPASS DRAFT NATIONAL ACTION PLAN (based on the Policy and findings of the
Roundtable)
See Attachment B.
17
4. CONCLUSION

17

Attachment A
INT16/42292

1. INTRODUCTION
1.1
Farm Trespass - definition
For the purposes of this report Farm Trespass or farm incursions refer to incidents involving the
disruption of lawful animal husbandry practices by animal activists in incidents characterised by
unlawful entry to the premises, with associated security, biosecurity (animal and plant diseases and
pests), property damage and animal welfare risks. Negative impacts on the health and welfare of
the people targeted, their standing in their community and industry, and on their financial position
and business operations, are also typical of the toll incurred.
Farm trespass in this context is a crime, and intention is a necessary element of the criminal act
under Section 4 of the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 NSW (ILPA), which sets out statutory
offences in relation to trespass on land. Related offences under the Crimes Act 1900 NSW include
Sections 59, 105A, 109 and 111 relating to malicious damage and assault, and unlawful entry to a
dwelling house.
Trespass in itself is not mentioned specifically in legislation as a statutory offence. The main
offence relied upon for prosecution in such cases is the offence of entering inclosed lands in the
ILPA, which relates to unlawful entry in a variety of circumstances, not just limited to entry by animal
activists. Other relevant sections in the Crimes Act 1900 NSW include break and entry, larceny (theft)
and malicious property damage offences.
Accidental entry without consent or permission is not trespass it does not meet the requirements
of the crime of trespass in the Inclosed Lands Protection Act and other relevant legislation, and is
therefore outside the scope of this paper. Accidental entry can occur where there is a genuine
mistaken belief by the person that they were permitted to enter, for example, where there is poor
signage demarcating an area of public land from an adjacent area of private property.
Where covert surveillance and/or break and enter are an element of a Farm Trespass incident, these
elements may be dealt with under existing laws, including the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 NSW.
The legality of the use of drones remains substantially untested, while civil actions for the torts of
trespass, nuisance and invasion of privacy can be expensive and time consuming for the individual
farmer to pursue, often suffering from the same difficulty in identifying a person responsible as the
available criminal actions.
True Farm Trespass incidents are usually asserted by the perpetrators and their supporters to be
based on good intent and motivation, that is, the pursuit of the public exposure and shaming of
alleged poor animal care and welfare standards in animal production facilities, action which is
claimed to be justified in the public interest. There are serious questions around the merits of this
approach as an effective method of promoting good animal welfare and achieving improvements in
those facilities which are truly substandard. This would help to infer that the underlying reason for
the activism may well be to promote an animal rights cause to gain community sympathy for the
phasing out of currently lawful intensive animal production activities in some industries which
comply with current animal welfare standards and laws.
Further, there has been little attention paid or acknowledgement given to the real impact of Farm
Trespass incidents on the targeted business, family and individual welfare (including physical and
mental health) and reputation, and whether the 'exposure' is in fact a reasonable representation of
the actual conduct and animal welfare standards in that facility.
4

Attachment A
INT16/42292
NSW has a comprehensive cross agency policy response to the issue of Farm Trespass, entitled the
NSW Farm Incursion Policy. The Policy has been accepted by the Agriculture Ministers Forum
(AgMin) as a suitable basis for a harmonised national approach to this issue, and the framework for
the Policy forms the basis for the attached Action Plan recommended to AgMin as a way forward.
1.2

Summary of the NSW Farm Incursion Policy

The Policy is described as a comprehensive cross agency policy response to the issue of disruption
of lawful animal husbandry practices and to ameliorate biosecurity risks caused by farm incursions.
The Policy accepts that Farm Trespass is a straightforward crime and that, where criminal trespass
and covert surveillance are features of the incident, existing trespass, break and enter and
surveillance laws are adequate and should be used. (Note: Concerns were raised at the Workshop
that the six month statute of limitations (SOL) applying to the offence of entering enclosed lands
frustrates attempts at prosecution, even where the perpetrator can be identified, in circumstances
where the farmers first knowledge of the incident occurs when the video surveillance footage is
published on the internet after the SOL has expired.)
The Policy states (p 2) that farmers have reported that Farm Trespass incidents have been increasing
in recent years, and they are concerned about the impacts of such incidents on biosecurity, animal
health and welfare, individual and family privacy, security, health and well-being, property damage,
including the risk to the safety of individuals involved if a raid is interrupted by a property owner or
staff member, and the right to conduct a lawful business uninterrupted.
The Policy also records farmers concerns that, whilst covert video footage may be sensational and
its publication may draw attention to the trespassers cause, the footage often misrepresents lawful
animal production operations as having a generalised and widespread problem of poor animal
welfare standards. However, this needs to be balanced with information about the true financial and
personal impact of the publicity attracted by such raids on individuals, enterprises and on
industries more broadly. These impacts, and the impact of such publicity on our animal industries for
which high welfare standards are a key market advantage, being hard won but easily eroded, yet are
rarely documented or well-understood by the community or courts.
The Policy also recognises that good biosecurity is a critical aspect of any farming enterprise and that
each and every enterprise, along with entire industries, makes their contribution to Australias
clean, green reputation in the export of livestock and animal products. Any entry onto farms which
breaches good biosecurity practice has the potential to risk, if not actually threaten, this hard won
track record and reputation for Australias animal production industries. Farm Trespass is clearly
within this category of high risk practices, against the interests of Australias highly valued plant and
animal industries and related domestic and international trade, by creating a serious risk of transfer
of animal and plant pests and diseases from infected to susceptible non infected farms.
The new Biosecurity Act NSW 2015 will assist in ensuring all those who enter inclosed lands without
permission are accountable for the biosecurity consequences of that entry but the primary piece of
legislation for dealing with the act of trespass will remain the Inclosed Lands Protection Act. For this
reason it would be useful to review the adequacy of penalties for the offence of entering inclosed
lands as part of a broader penalty review already underway by the Ministry for Police and
5

Attachment A
INT16/42292
Emergency Services for a range of rural crimes, including illegal hunting and theft from farms.
Potential inconsistencies between the SOL applying to different offences which impede effective
prosecution also need to be explored by this, or another, qualified group.
The Policy also reaffirms (at pp. 4-5) that farm animal welfare is a key concern for NSW producers
and NSW has a strong and well established legislative framework, supported by enforcement
agencies and rigorous procedures, to respond appropriately to cases of animal cruelty. This situation
is similar to that found in other States and Territories. National model codes for livestock, along with
NSW standards and guidelines, articulate acceptable industry standards in line with community
expectations. The Department of Primary Industries also provides up to date and accessible webbased resources on best practice and sustainable management in animal industries, reflecting the
importance placed on animal welfare in these industries by both producers and the broader
community.
1.3

The four components of the NSW Farm Incursion Policy:

The Policy operates as a framework for a coordinated cross-agency approach which integrates the
role of governments, industry and producers in the prevention and response to Farm Trespass. The
Policy is also intended to be relevant across all State, Territory and the national jurisdictions. This
approach reflects the national nature of many animal production industries and the shared nature of
the experiences of producers affected by Farm Trespass, irrespective of their industry or the region
in which they live and conduct their business.
The Policy therefore accommodates a range of approaches in a four pronged strategy to prevent and
respond to Farm Trespass in a harmonised and coordinated manner with a national focus. The four
arms of this approach are set out below, along with the explanatory detail drawn from the Policy, a
structure which corresponds to the Action Plan for implementation of the Policy later in this report.
A) Strengthen legislative and regulatory requirements and controls for prosecution
Work with Police and Department of Justice (DoJ) to improve understanding of and response
to farm incursions how often are existing laws used to protect the privacy, reputation,
biosecurity status, autonomy and safety of farmers and farm businesses in cases of
incursions and what is the fate of these prosecutions? Is civil action by affected farms a
realistic alternative?
Work with Police to respond to identified high risk industries and scenarios, and to
coordinate intelligence.
Develop prosecution guidelines for action against trespass, nuisance and surveillance
offences.
Develop preventative security measures to protect for trespass and biosecurity risks.
Monitor and evaluate farm incursions incidents and trends provide an evidence base to
identify areas needing operational intervention or escalation of regulatory responses.
Establish a cross agency working group (DPI/DoJ) to better understand the significant
biosecurity, economic, social and environmental risks posed by farm incursions, and the
evidence requirements for proof of Surveillance Act offences.
Provide information packs to farmers on launching civil action for trespass and nuisance.

Attachment A
INT16/42292
B) Resolve impediments to successful prosecutions of trespassers under existing trespass and
surveillance laws
Ensure obligations on all those who create biosecurity risks are stated clearly, and penalties
are sufficient to drive mitigation steps to be taken (General Biosecurity Duty will help to
establish the standard expected, making proof of breach more straightforward).
Develop an engagement strategy with peak industry stakeholders and individual farmers to
highlight the biosecurity risks arising from farm incursions.
Work with DoJ and Police to identify and address evidentiary constraints to prosecutions for
farm incursions, for example, owner-initiated surveillance cameras in high risk facilities.
C) Facilitate development by industry of proactive strategies to deal with biosecurity risks arising
from farm incursions
Stakeholder and community engagement/action plan to be developed to promote
industry/government roundtables; facilitate engagement between farmers, Police and other
enforcement agencies; develop information packs and fact sheets about ways to minimise
risks of farm incursions; and develop communication strategies about the importance of
biosecurity to NSW and Australia and the risks and costs arising from farm incursions.
DPI to work with industry and Police to facilitate training on best practice on-farm
surveillance methods.
Cross industry engagement between peak industry bodies, and relevant Commonwealth
agencies.
D) Identify intervention points for Government to increase consumer confidence in lawful animal
husbandry practices and educate the community on NSW farmers commitment to high animal
welfare standards
The intensive farming industry sector is to find ways to increase visibility and transparency of
industry animal welfare and biosecurity standards and regulatory requirements to educate
consumers about the high standards which are employed within this sector, and the impacts
of Farm Trespass incidents on animal welfare, biosecurity, individual farmers and
rural/regional communities. For example, industry bodies to take the lead with marketing,
branding, communication collaboration (social media and conventional media) with
government assisting as a facilitator.
Support NSW Farmers, National Farmers Federation and other industry and jurisdictional
peak bodies to develop an industry action plan and communications plan for progressing
these issues.
NSW DPI to develop a communications strategy that highlights its role as regulator of
intensive farming and biosecurity in NSW and the high standards that are achieved through
this States rigorous regulatory and compliance framework, supported by appropriate
enforcement agencies. This communications strategy will provide a template for similar
action in other jurisdictions.

Attachment A
INT16/42292
1.4

Background to the joint NSW-Commonwealth Farm Trespass Roundtable

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that farmers who treat their animals in a lawful and
responsible manner are permitted to carry out their business undisturbed by the unlawful actions of
animal activists.
Farm Trespass is a national issue. These unlawful intrusions upon farmers, their families and their
employees are not unique to any one State or Territory. The NSW and Australian governments are
providing joint sponsorship and leadership of this issue in the Agriculture Ministers Forum (AgMin),
reflecting the shared concerns by farmers across State and Territory boundaries and underpinning a
coordinated and harmonised approach to the issue.
At its 22 May 2015 AgMin meeting, Ministers agreed that the NSW Farm Incursion Policy be used
as a useful reference to address Farm Trespass issues, and that a consistent approach to farm
trespass is important in maintaining the integrity of the biosecurity system and ensuring farmers are
offered the same entitlements to privacy as the broader community.
The NSW Farm Incursion Policy acknowledges that all Australian jurisdictions have robust legislative
frameworks and penalty provision to protect animal welfare, prosecute trespassers and manage
biosecurity. The Policy reflects that adequate laws are already in place for the effective management
of and response to these issues, although it notes that there are likely to be opportunities for
improvement and/or refinement of existing regulatory schemes by governments to improve
responses to Farm Trespass incidents.
However, the Policy also acknowledges that a substantial component of a harmonised and
coordinated national approach to the issue comprises appropriate prevention and protection
strategies, along with community awareness and engagement activities by individual producers and
significant industry and animal welfare bodies highlighting the real impacts of such incidents.
The NSW and Australian Governments demonstrated their shared support on the issue of Farm
Trespass by convening a national Ministerial Roundtable on Farm Trespass.
The Roundtable was hosted jointly by the Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources,
the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, and the NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Lands and
Water, the Hon Niall Blair MLC, at NSW Department of Primary Industries Elizabeth Macarthur
Agricultural Institute (EMAI) Menangle on 3 August 2015.
2.

FARM TRESPASS ROUNDTABLE

Farm Trespass is a complex issue, requiring a partnership between producers, industry and different
levels of government for effective prevention and response to specific incidents. Community
expectations around the maintenance of appropriate animal welfare standards within animal
production industries must be balanced with the reasonable expectation that lawful animal
production practices be allowed to continue safely and uninterrupted.
Key speakers at the Roundtable discussed various aspects of, and issues associated with, Farm
Trespass, leading into broader discussion by the group.

Attachment A
INT16/42292
2.1

Summaries of presentations

2.1.1

Scott Hansen, Director General NSW Department of Primary Industries

Farm Trespass in the context referred to here is an intentional act of unlawful or illegal entry
onto someone elses property, without their consent or knowledge. By definition, it is not
accidental, and is associated with both breaches of privacy and biosecurity related risks.

Active surveillance of premises by owners or managers using people or technology to detect


intrusions is inherently more difficult in rural environments than urban areas, making
identification and prosecution of offenders harder. Signage and security, wherever feasible,
will help achieve these goals.

The promotion of high farming standards, with greater openness and transparency
surrounding the conditions in which animals are bred and raised, along with a concerted and
community directed education and information effort, contribute to the social licence
between the community and producers. Such transparency will lessen the incentive to
reveal alleged mistreatment by lawful businesses. Social licence is not a regulatory tool for
states, but rather an implied contract between industry and their community which has
national application.

The last Avian Influenza outbreak in NSW was an event of limited reach, yet it cost more
than $5 million to address. At a time when more and more attention is being paid to food
safety and quality, our enviable national biosecurity status is a precious asset to be
protected. The Agriculture Ministers Forum (AgMin) understands this very well, directing
their attention towards a national approach to combating Farm Trespass.

2.1.2

Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie and Detective Inspector Paul Huxtable, NSW
Police

A successful prosecution for Farm Trespass requires the event to be shown to be an


intentional act. Accidental trespass is not a crime, and is usually addressed effectively by
good signage and improved awareness of property boundaries and obligations of entry,
although rural areas are often challenging in this regard with poor exclusion signage, easy
property access, limited entry supervision, visibility a matter of luck and distances between
houses and animal facilities.

Penalties for trespass tend to be financial in nature, which may not be an effective deterrent
for the motivation to enter without permission, and are relatively light.

Thirty eight (38) piggeries in the Young area, along with poultry farms in other states) are
known to have been invaded for the purpose of installing unauthorised surveillance devices,
ostensibly to reveal animal husbandry practice believed to be poor. These incursions fall in
to the trespass with intent category.

Attachment A
INT16/42292

NSW Police have been investigating these incidents actively, but evidence gathering around
such incidents presents significant challenges. For example, sometimes the first notice the
owner has of the incursion is the internet publication of video footage taken on the
premises, and this publication may occur weeks or months after the trespass occurred.
Difficulty in identifying the person responsible for taking the footage, and its publication, as
well as the two year statute of limitations applying to trespass offences, can all hamper
prosecution.

Where prosecution is pursued, it is often prized by the perpetrators for its benefits in
promoting their cause, with a cost that is tolerable given the relatively light penalties.

The ideology of Farm Trespass by animal activists is complex in invading lawfully operating
animal production enterprises, it appears that the underlying motivation may be more based
on animal liberation principles (that is, elimination of all animal production for human
consumption) than good animal welfare standards. Further, real animal welfare and health
risks posed to the animals when biosecurity protocols are breached to gain entry appear to
be often ignored by the perpetrator.

Surveillance and subsequent publication of footage obtained is often alleged by the farmer
to have been selected and edited to misrepresent owners and their families in the worst
possible light, with little explanatory context provided, to ensure that the farm and its
owners reputations are tarnished in the local community and the industry and maximise the
impact on their business.

Increasing access by private individuals to drones raises concerns about these devices as
potential instruments of unauthorised observation and surveillance when fitted with a
camera or recording device. The Surveillance Act 2007 NSW aims to protect the privacy of
persons against such instructions, but the provisions of the Act have yet to be tested. If
farmers capture these devices on their property, they are encouraged to hand them over to
Police, not to destroy them or they may open themselves to charges of malicious damage to
property.

Unlawful acts of Farm Trespass are hard to stop altogether, but it is important to make it as
difficult as possible by denying or delaying access (eg locked gates and buildings). Such
action makes clear that an offence is being committed, entry in breach of warning signage
and biosecurity conditions of entry. Introduction of other measures to improve evidence
collection, for example, security cameras may also be considered.

Improved communication and working relationships between producers and their local
Police are critical to improving security, prevention and evidence collection. NSW has 33
Rural Crime Investigators across the State, and similar specialist forces in other jurisdictions
should be similarly engaged in their local response.

10

Attachment A
INT16/42292
2.1.3

Producers perspectives - Bede Burke, Chairman NSW Farmers Egg Committee, and Edwina
Beveridge, Owner and Producer Blantyre Farms NSW

Ms Beveridge and Mr Burke provided testimony, the former as a pig producer who had
experienced personally break-ins and publication of covertly-taken surveillance footage, and
the latter from a position in industry where they are familiar with the personal experiences
of those targeted previously by break-ins.

The speakers described common elements of these events forced entry (probably
repeated) into sheds and barns, usually late at night, distress caused to the animals in those
sheds, cages broken into and birds taken and crammed into cages to simulate overcrowding
for a photographic record taken by hidden cameras, groups of animals under treatment
recorded and misrepresented on the internet as animals which were suffering and not
properly cared for, and sometimes extensive vandalism during the invasion.

The personal impact on producers when they discover the trespass is significant, as with any
breach of privacy they fear for their and their families safety, the welfare of their animals,
concern if they or their staff confront the intruder, anxiety about their business and their
local reputation, including how their children will be treated by their peers at school after
publication of the footage which seeks to impugn their parents or familys reputation.

Subsequent publication of covert footage is generally intended to portray the producers


business, and them personally, in the worst possible light. Images are chosen, and perhaps
constructed or manipulated, for their shock value to the public to incite outrage at
producer activities. Release of personal information about the producer and their families
on the internet is intended to make them the target of public opprobrium, with the
producer having little opportunity or means to defend themselves in this open forum.

Business impacts are equally significant - reputational damage, loss of production time
during the investigation and overcoming the distress of animals due to change in routine,
security enhancements and changes to operating procedures, repair of vandalised
equipment and infrastructure, associated financial costs and productivity losses, mitigation
of biosecurity risks incurred due to the invasion (perhaps requiring destocking of sheds).

Discussion: There was general agreement at the Roundtable that law abiding animal production
industries should have access to at least the same level of privacy and protection of their
premises as other private citizens and business owners, and that the true business and personal
impacts of Farm Trespass incidents on the producer and their stock are rarely documented or
quantified.
Documentation of these impacts, in quantified (money) terms where possible, is an opportunity
for local Police and producers to work together, irrespective of jurisdiction, to ensure that a
judge or magistrate presented with a prosecution case in a Farm Trespass incident can take
these impacts into account, balancing the apparent moral righteousness of an intruder claiming

11

Attachment A
INT16/42292
that the video taken of animals in the facility justified their engaging in an otherwise unlawful
act of trespass.
The true question is, is it reasonable to ignore these other impacts when the animal activists in
pursuit of their cause, or should activists seek to have recourse to legal and less aggressive
means to bring their concerns to the attention of the community and the authorities? Is it
reasonable that an activist remains unaccountable for these broader impacts?
2.1.4

The Hon Niall Blair MLC, Parliament of NSW, Minister for Primary Industries

Farm Trespass incidents are serious events with significant personal and commercial
consequences. They affect persons and livelihoods and deserve the same attention as is
given to the invasion of premises, either a private home or a business, in urban
environments.

The majority of farmers and producers seek to do the right thing and maintain high
standards of operation. Producers and industry have a duty to demonstrate that they take
animal welfare seriously and the Government supports this approach.

Subversive campaigns intended to harm or discredit livestock businesses can jeopardise


genuine producer and industry effort to create and develop trade markets where our food
safety and security, and our animal welfare standards, contribute a significant trade
advantage.

Having experienced personally the 2001 UK Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in Northern
Ireland, the Minister stated that he was extremely concerned about the potentially
catastrophic consequences of emergency animal disease outbreaks, and the need to ensure
critical biosecurity practices are not undermined by Farm Trespass incidents.

2.1.5

The Hon Barnaby Joyce, MP, Parliament of Australia, Minister for Agriculture

Combatting Farm Trespass is a national concern, with NSW and the Commonwealth
commencing a collaborative effort come eighteen months ago to develop a common
national approach to this serious issue.

A legal and regulatory perspective requires that those groups who wilfully break the law
should be prosecuted this is the expectation of the community in a safe and orderly
society.

There are established mechanisms to deal with animal welfare concerns, by reporting to
competent authorities in respective States and Territories, including the RSPCA and Police. If
laws are inadequate, there are open processes through the Parliament to seek change to
such laws. Vigilantism is not part of these legitimate processes.

12

Attachment A
INT16/42292

2.2

Farm Trespass incidents cause significant distress and disruption to farming families and
businesses engaged in lawful activity, requiring them to now act as security guards to
protect their families, premises and livestock.

Industries that make a material contribution to the nations GDP and our quality of life are
also threatened by this activity through the impacts on productivity, profitability, reputation
and ultimately the viability of industries, risking our biosecurity status.

As Minister, I am concerned to ensure that the voices of producers and industry are heard in
the court of public opinion, to balance the moral high ground so often captured unfairly by
the activists in some sections of the community if industry remains silent.

Findings from the Roundtable


2.2.1

Statements of Principle derived from the Roundtable:

No law or regulatory intervention alone is likely to eliminate Farm Trespass


completely. It is the combination of prosecutions and meaningful penalties, plus
suitable trespass prevention and response measures by producers and industry, and
the improvements in these over time which will make a difference.

Measures and responses to Farm Trespass, including penalties, should be aligned to


the level of criminality involved and the consequences of the risks for categories of
incident. These measures and penalties must be consistent with the risks biosecurity
breaches pose for individual properties, regions and whole industries.

A regulatory or prosecutorial response alone to incidents is not enough industry


and producers need to fight also in the court of public opinion to protect their
reputation and their entitlement to continue to engage in lawful animal production
activities, and to defend the high standards of animal welfare employed in these
industries.

2.2.2

Role of Commonwealth and States/Territories in a harmonised national response to


Farm Trespass

Roundtable participants recognised the importance of a consistent, national


approach to this issue. Whilst regulatory and prosecutorial responses to these
incidents are primarily a function of State and Territory governments, the
importance of cooperation between jurisdictions, and the crucial leadership role to
be played by industry bodies working with producers and government to combat
this threat, were emphasised.

Discussion at the Roundtable identified a series of approaches, listed in 2.2.3 below


which, when employed together, are likely to make a significant difference over
13

Attachment A
INT16/42292
time. Specific measures are listed in more detail in the draft Action Plan, for
consideration by AgMin as the basis for implementation of a harmonised national
response on this issue.
2.2.3

Where do the opportunities lie to improve the situation?

Five target areas were identified to reduce the likelihood and incidence of Farm Trespass:

Warn off potential trespassers through signage and warnings of private nature or
premises and biosecurity protocols applying to the premises, security measures
employed and penalties for breaches.

Make the physical act of trespass more difficult and risky for the perpetrator so a
more serious offence is being committed if trespass proceeds, with likely more
success in evidence gathering to follow. Examples include the use of gates, locks and
security devices.

Seek collaboration between producers, between producers and industry, producers


and their communities, and between producers and the media to respond to acts of
wilful trespass and invasion. Examples include:
-

develop and disseminate how to trespass prevention and trespass response


kits supported by appropriate producer education;
develop and use informal area and regional producer networks to exchange
information, pass on warnings, share experiences, discuss successful tactics and
provide mutual support after a trespass incident;
implement publicity campaigns (posters and signs in public places and on sheds
with contact numbers) to encourage reporting of suspicious activity; and
develop invasion response strategies for immediate activation by producers and
industry using the same information dissemination channels used by the
activists (social media, web sites and traditional media).

Improve success rates in prosecutions:


- producers to remain alert to the risk of trespass and invasion;
- producers willing to prosecute;
- producers capable of prosecuting by assisting Police with evidence collection
and documenting the full impacts of the invasion on them and their businesses;
- jurisdictions to consider the benefit of greater uniformity and complementarity
between jurisdictions on relevant laws and procedures; and
- ongoing education of farm employees and service personnel, local Police,
judicial officers and the local community about the serious consequences of
Farm Trespass.

14

Attachment A
INT16/42292

2.3

Ensure that a balanced story is presented to the community and communicated


through the media to disenfranchise the activists from their shock value tactics
when it misrepresents the true situation:
- ensure that animal welfare and general farm practices meet high standards;
- humanise Farm Trespass and its consequences - create a supportive united
front to discredit tainted or biased information, and raise general public
awareness of the right of law abiding animal producers to conduct their
businesses in peace and safety, the same as other citizens and businesses; and
- encourage those who have concerns about animal welfare practices to take
them to the proper authorities rather than supporting vigilante action.

Actions identified for immediate progression - Farm Trespass Workshop 10 February 2016

1. NSW Farmers Association proposed that an industry-led working group, supported by a whole of
government approach, be established to progress implementation of the Action Plan. This
working group would be initially focussed on NSW, allowing industry sectors to work together on
common problems and solutions but still allow the specific challenges for each sector to be
addressed. For example, DPI compliance, legal and communications units could assist in
development of appropriate wording for signage for biosecure enterprises, and multi-sectoral
communication strategies. This Working Group may then be able to recommend an approach,
through the Agriculture Ministers Forum, that other jurisdictions could adapt to suit their
circumstances. This Working Group should be led by industry and seek membership or an
appropriate level of engagement from all relevant industry bodies, and representatives of
affected producers, supported by government agencies represented at the Workshop.
2. NSW Police advised that there is a review underway of the adequacy of penalties in NSW for a
range of rural crimes, and that it may be possible for penalties relevant to Farm Trespass, for
example, for the offence of entering inclosed lands to be included within that review. If a
national approach was pursued in relation to this issue, other jurisdictions would have to
consider the appropriateness of such a review of their laws. However, whilst the legislation can
be refined, the workshop noted that the problem of Farm Trespass will largely be solved by the
policy and industry response, not the legislation on its own, and that this forum was critical in
working towards a solution 1.
3. Engagement of local communities to encourage reporting of suspicious activity or presence in
their local area with signs and contact numbers so that concerns may be raised with the local
Police. It is also possible to explore whether a third party service provider such as Crimestoppers
could be the contact point for reporting suspicious activity. Crimestoppers could then also assist
with collating statistics on the prevalence of and types of rural crime being reported to assist
1

On 7 March 2016 the Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, the Hon Anthony Roberts MP announced in a media
release that legislation will be introduced to the NSW Parliament to increase enforcement powers with respect to illegal
protests. The Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Amendment (Interference) Bill 2016 will deliver on the
Governments commitment to ensure that the right to peaceful protest is balanced with the need to ensure public safety,
the safety of workers, the protection of communities and lawful business activity. (The Minister) said the reforms enable
Police to take a more proactive approach to managing and prosecuting illegal activity.

15

Attachment A
INT16/42292
planning and resourcing decisions encourage communities to watch and report, and to guide
where resources are best targeted.
4. Where there are organisations supporting animal activists in their activities, these organisations
often derive significant taxation benefits from their recognition as charities, yet often appear to
have other dominant purposes for existing. For example, it may be possible to establish that the
main purpose of the organisation is political rather than charitable and seek a determination as
to whether this may be grounds to terminate its charitable status.
5. Industry messaging and publication of tool kits and response protocols on industry websites
must be undertaken carefully. There is concern in some industries that animal activists are
targeting high profile industry members, not to reveal poor animal welfare standards in these
enterprises (they are often recognised as leaders in their sector), but to maximise the publicity
they can get for their broader cause. This approach also implies criticism of bodies such as the
RSPCA, that they are not being hard enough on poor operators. However, it demonstrates
limited understanding of the objective approach adopted under RSPCA and Police procedure to
ensure people are not targeted unfairly. It is likely that each industry sector would benefits from
a customised approach to this issue, and some industries have commenced work on a Farm
Trespass Response Kit, but the concept could well be progressed further and extended to other
industries under the auspices of the working group suggested in 4.
6. Specialised rural crime officers are now more available than they have been previously in NSW,
but many officers in Local Area Commands do not have specialist knowledge in this area. The
role of Local Land Services officers should be clarified as they are well placed to assist local
Police on issues around how animal enterprises operate, potential biosecurity and animal
welfare risks and impacts from unauthorised incursions, the applicable welfare codes of practice
and industry standards, and reasonable protection of animals and premises from incursion, as
well as being part of a regulatory response such as expert witnesses.
7. More certainty should be sought about the operation of other areas of law, in NSW initially.
Advice should be sought from the Department of Justice about the adequacy of laws relating to
surveillance and drones, the consequences of publication of material on the internet (breach of
privacy and defamation laws) including the rights of apparently misrepresented parties to
correct the record, the effect of different statutes of limitation for prosecuting different offences
and whether this is an impediment to prosecution, and the relevance, if any, of victims
compensation laws and laws regulating charities. New offences should also be explored, for
example, impounding/confiscation of vehicles if a trespasser is prosecuted successfully may be
an additional deterrent against further offending. Further, corporate offences may be explored
for prosecuting an organisation that has directed one of its members to commit the trespass.
8. Further work is required, perhaps through the working group suggested in 4, on how to best
manage the impact of Farm Trespass events on the individuals targeted, For example, is it
possible for police to refer victims to counselling and support services for assistance.

16

Attachment A
INT16/42292
9. The scope of the work should be broadened beyond privately owned farms to include more
public affiliated premises which could be the target of animal activists such as livestock depots
and saleyards, abattoirs/processors, possibly showgrounds and feed suppliers. In NSW the
definition of Inclosed Lands should be reviewed to ensure that animal activists unlawful entry
on these premises are also considered an offence under the Inclosed Lands Protection Act.
10. Encourage victims to prosecute where possible. NSW Police to write an article for publication
explaining to farmers why it is important to pursue prosecution and how they can best prepare
for such action and follow through.
3

ACTION PLAN (based on the Policy and findings of the Roundtable)

See attachment B.
4
CONCLUSION
Farm Trespass is an issue of national concern which threatens come of our most significant animal
industries, and which warrants a coordinated harmonised approach to prevent and reduce the
impact of such incidents.
Farm Trespass in this context, involving the disruption of lawful animal husbandry practices in
incidents characterised by unlawful entry to the premises, with associated security, biosecurity
(animal disease and pest) and animal welfare risks, is a straightforward crime. However, the
common features of such incidents can make them difficult to prevent or prosecute, including the
act of entry occurring under the cover of darkness and the installation of covert video surveillance
equipment, with footage being published on the internet some time after the trespass actually
occurred and without critical contextual information.
These circumstances also usually involve apparently intentional or reckless breach by the
trespasser/s of biosecurity protocols. These breaches expose the animals, the facility and the
industry to significant biosecurity risks, along with potentially serious harm (personal, financial and
reputational), to the individual producer in their local community, their industry, and the broader
community, and the potential for negative impacts for Australias international agricultural trade
partnerships.
Following the Agricultural Ministers Forums acceptance of the NSW Farm Incursion Policy as a basis
for a harmonised approach to this issue, the Farm Trespass Roundtable hosted jointly by the NSW
and Australian Governments on 3 August 2015 provided an opportunity to discuss specific concerns
raised by producers and key organisations and develop a realistic action plan to recommend to
AgMin for national implementation. The draft action plan is attached at Appendix 1.
The action plan will form the basis of a report to go to AgMin is the second half of 2016, seeking
endorsement for this as a national approach that is consistent and harmonised as far as possible
across jurisdictions.

17

Attachment B INT16/42293

DOC 2

FARM TRESPASS MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLE - ACTION PLAN FOR ENDORSEMENT

Attachment B INT16/42293

ACTION PLAN FOR IMPLEMENTATION - OUTCOMES FROM THE FARM TRESPASS ROUNDTABLE
ACTIONS

RESPONSIBILITY FOR COMMENT


IMPLEMENTATION
A. Facilitate development by industry of proactive strategies to deal with biosecurity risks arising from farm incursions
1. Improve security at enterprise level, ensuring adequate notice of responsibilities is provided
clearly to both lawful and unlawful entrants:
-

Biosecurity Management Plans developed and implemented Animal Health Australia


has templates on its website. Local Land Services and the Livestock Biosecurity Network
could assist in an advisory capacity to develop model plans, as well as advising
producers directly on the development of effective Biosecurity Management Plans for
their enterprise. Producer members of Australian Pork Limited (APL) are required to
have a Biosecurity Plan in place. Saleyards have such plans embedded in their
procedures. This area lends itself to a national approach.

Clear signage relating to the private nature of the property, conditions of entry,
warning that biosecurity protocols are in place and the penalties for breaching them,
and a contact number to seek consent to enter easily visible at main entry points.
Consistent wording is required and government could assist in this regard through a
multi-industry/government working group to implement the Action Plan and develop
the content of the tool kits.

Controlled and designated exit and entry points close entries with gates (padlocked?),
ensure sheds and barns locked and with security devices,

Owners CCTV surveillance and/or alarms at main gate, other entry points, access
roads, and within the facility. Signs warning that CCTV and alarm systems are in place.

Ensure staff are familiar with security measures and implement them for visiting
workers/contractors.

Ensure others with statutory authority to enter private farms (eg meter readers and

Individual producers
working closely with
their local police and
industry bodies

Allows people entering premises without


permission to be proved more readily to
be aware (or that they should have
known) they will be trespassing if they
enter, and by defining the conditions of
entry.

Assists in overcoming the some of the


evidentiary burdens in proof of trespass
offences.

Attachment B INT16/42293

tree trimmers for electricity companies) are aware of and adhere to biosecurity
responsibilities, including the General Biosecurity Duty under the new Act.
2. Trespass prevention and Trespass response kits - Tool kit and information material
Industry bodies
developed by industry bodies and made available on their websites for producers, guiding
working with local
them about how to implement the above strategies and who to go to for advice. APL has a
police and producer
toolkit on its website available to members only but could be a useful template.
networks
3. Seek to prevent trespass incidents by improved local community based surveillance and
Industry bodies/
reporting - poster and sign campaigns in public places in rural areas with Police contact
producers with
telephone numbers to encourage reporting of suspicious activities. Local Government and
advice from local
LLS could play a role in promoting a Property Awareness Program to support local producer police
awareness to prevent trespass.
4. Develop invasion response strategies for reputation management counteract
Industry
Industry to provide support to producers
disproportionate messaging by animal activist groups using similar media (websites, social
Individual producers about not posting threatening or defamatory
media and traditional media). For example there could be a panel of experts available to
messages about activities on such computers,
review surveillance video footage and assist with appropriate wording to correct the record
but to concentrate on positive messaging
and defend reputations of individuals and industry. RSPCA could assist providing there is no
about their businesses and their industries
cruelty prosecutions underway on the matter.
B. Identify intervention points for Government (and industry) to increase consumer confidence in lawful animal husbandry practices and educate the community on
NSW farmers commitment to high animal welfare standards
1. Reduce the perceived incentive for activists or vigilantes to reveal conditions in animal
production facilities using ambush tactics to gain the community sympathies:
-

Promote open discussion across the community about the true impact of these raids on
victims and their families, the animal welfare and disease risks that unauthorised entry
raises, and relate these incidents to something that urban communities can understand

Promote good standards of animal welfare across all industries, delivering production
benefits and market access advantages, as well as reflecting the producer/consumer
pact inherent in the social licence concept

Industry and
governments
working together

Create a connection between producers


experiences when raided to something that
urban communities can understand, for
example, how would they feel if their own
homes and businesses were invaded?
Codes and standards are in place.
Majority of animal producers abide by and
implement high standards of animal welfare.
Industry works closely with individual
producers who need help and have strategies
3

Attachment B INT16/42293

to manage and work with those who are


struggling to meet the standard.
-

A national multi-industry information and promotional package to reinforce positive


messaging about relevant animal production industries as a critical part of reputation
management for industries and counteract the impact from ambush surveillance
videos which misrepresents the true nature and values of these industries
2. Establish the principle that Farm trespass is not OK in the community
Change community attitudes towards activist incidents involving trespass to make it clear
that the publicity value of these actions, and subsequent publication of covert video
surveillance, comes at a real cost to business and families which might outweigh the merits
of exposing affected parties compared to other more legitimate ways of brining any real
problem to the attention of authorities.
Positive messaging is important, focussing on the direct and immediate benefits of a
healthy and profitable animal production sector delivering benefits of safe affordable food
for Australian families, employment and other economic benefits consistent with
community expectations of animal welfare standards.
A similar message was adopted by the mining industry recently to address imbalanced
negative publicity about that industry. These issues underlie the community-derived social
licence to operate for such industries where social and economic objectives may appear to
compete. School education programs could be considered, including to bring urban and
farming communities closer together and better understand each other, for example,
Collingwood Childrens Farm educational facility in Melbourne.

Industry bodies
Governments

Promote openness and transparency in the


industries so that they properly represent the
bulk of producers and address the rare cases
of poor performance
Clear messaging to the community that:
- activists have other ways available to
them to bring their concerns to the
attention of authorities;
-

public humiliation of individuals and


families would not be acceptable to the
community in other circumstances, and
should not be accepted here;

there is a need to humanise the impact


of Farm Trespass incidents and their
consequences and call upon the
community to adopt a sense of
perspective and fairness, appreciate the
biosecurity risks created by invasions and
the expectation by producers that they
will share in the rights available to others,
for example, right to privacy and sense of
personal security and safety;

consider the reasons for the courts and


communitys apparent tolerance to this
trespass activity. This tolerance may only
be overcome if there are demonstrated
4

Attachment B INT16/42293

and reliable other methods to deal with


any poor industry standards and practices;

3. Promote the development of local and regional producer networks, with assistance from the
Police Local Area Commands so producers can pass on warnings, exchange information, share
experiences, discuss successful tactics, and provide mutual support after an invasion
4.Educate farm employees, contractors, Police trainees and servicing officers, magistrates and
the local community about the serious consequences of acts of trespass and invasion
Alex Anthony LLS to circulate by email details for the rural counselling service based in Orange.
Offer departing employees an exit interview to allow them to raise any concerns and perhaps
remove the motive for later activity if they feel aggrieved.
5.Strive to promote a more balanced public opinion about these crimes

Industry, producers
& governments
(local Police)
Industry
Producers
All Governments

6. Coordinated approach to reputation management

Industry
Producers
All Governments

Industry

promote the communitys awareness of


alternative more responsible methods
available to groups or individuals to report
animal welfare breaches (eg Police or
RSPCA); and

emphasise that its not OK to break in to


peoples homes and businesses to ambush
them and present one side of the story
there is another more acceptable way to
deal with your concerns.

Farm Trespass incidents are not victimless


crimes in terms of the people targeted

Farm Trespass activists try to claim the high


moral ground by exposing allegedly
inhumane practices in a sensationalist
manner, but this is not balanced by industry
and producer voices.
Police and industry bodies to work with RSPCA
to counteract the negative publicity by
activists intended to cause harm to the
businesses or reputations of producers and
5

Attachment B INT16/42293

7. Raise public awareness and influence public opinion about the legitimacy of activist
raids through educational campaigns targeted at schools, specific consumer
groups.
Sometimes university student plants may be used to provide information to
activists to inform their activities industry may need to work with schools and
universities to educate students on relevant standards and appropriate ways of
raising concerns.
8. Communications strategies
- Support NSWF/NFF and peak bodies to develop an industry action plan and
communications plan on these issues.
-

Industry (including
major retailers)
Governments

industries.

Government
Industry bodies

DPI to develop a communications strategy that highlights its role as regulator of intensive
farming and biosecurity in NSW and the high standards that are achieved through our
rigorous regulatory and compliance framework.

- Review The Animal Condition video to understand the motivation of animal activists.
C. Resolve impediments to successful prosecutions of trespassers under existing trespass and surveillance laws
1. Maintain adequate legislation in each jurisdiction to prevent and respond to trespass
Industry
incidents
All governments
Each jurisdiction to review the adequacy of their regulatory framework and penalty regime
for Farm Trespass. NSW Police have been asked to review their penalties for a range of
rural crimes include unlawful entry crimes. This review may be able to include
consideration of offences related to Farm Trespass for purposes of animal activism that
subject to a Ministerial request to the Minister for Police to amend the terms of reference
of the review accordingly (DPI Biosecurity and Food Safety Director of Compliance to seek
an answer on this through the Rural Crime Advisory Group.)
2. Support farmers by clarifying their rights and responsibilities in preventing and responding
Industry
to trespass risk and events. It is difficult to be very prescriptive about what will work there All governments
are many different scenarios involved and a multi-industry- government working group
would be well placed to consider this.

Each jurisdiction (Cth, State and


Territories) has current legislation to
respond to acts of trespass. NSW
considers that its current legislation in this
area is adequate and that it does not
require additional laws to prosecute in
trespass cases.
Toolkit to be prepared by industry and Police
Service informing farmers of their rights and
responsibilities in this situation. How far can
they go to protect their property while acting
within the law and not putting themselves and
their families in danger?
6

Attachment B INT16/42293

3. Improve documentation of the real impacts of trespass incidents on the producer and
industry these are not victimless crimes
Better induction and training for local Police to encourage them working with high risk
industries and producers to improve security, collect evidence if incidents occur, document that
evidence in the form of a witness or victim-type impact statement to present to a magistrate
or judge. Industry, producers and Police must work together to develop a way to document
these impacts so that a more balanced ledger of impacts is presented for the Courts
consideration.
The definition of impacts should be broad enough to include economic loss including
reputational and property damage, and non-financial impacts along the lines of pain and
suffering recognised in personal injury law.

Industry
All governments

The judge cannot consider these impacts if


there are not properly documented and,
where possible, quantified. If the only
evidence the judge has in front of them if
video footage taken by the activist, the public
interest test may be applied to allow the this
footage to be admitted to the court, perhaps
undermining the trespass prosecution.
The NSW Government has stated that it has
no intention of introducing ag gag laws as
seen in some parts of the USA.

Particular characteristics of farm trespass offences can make them harder to prosecute than
others:
- entry often occurs out of hours in areas hard to monitor and can involve the illegal
installation of surveillance devices that are hard to detect
- prosecution requires identification of an individual who is responsible and this hard to
prove
- video footage might be published well after the trespass event, resulting in sustained
industry and individual reputational damage but hard to link to a specific date for the
trespass
- statute of limitations for trespass only runs for 2 years (depending on jurisdiction), and
collection of evidence in this period might be difficult
- use of technology such as drones offers a way for activists to obtain footage they want
without committing an act of physical trespass. Whilst potentially breaching newer
surveillance legislation, these laws remain uncertain. If farmers can gain possession of the
drone this may assist the Police as evidence but farmers are advised not to take radical
action to do this (ie shooting a drone out of the sky may expose them to a wilful/malicious
destruction of property charge) in the same way that confrontations between farmers and
activists during the trespass are to be avoided.
- when prosecutions are commenced, the judge or magistrate should have in front of them a
7

Attachment B INT16/42293

comprehensive account of the true impact of the trespass (financial, personal,


reputational), the cost to their businesses and personal finances of the steps they had to
take to prevent further incidents, and the toll that the reputational damage has taken on
their families in small rural communities
- Victims Impact Statements as such are generally not used but doctors reports and other
evidence of the impacts can be included in a victims statement tendered to the court.
Ensure police are trained on the importance of including this evidence in their statements.
4. Governments to encourage relevant services to prosecute where possible to reflect the
seriousness of the crime.
Other offences such as breach of privacy and sharing images could be considered for the
publication of personal information/photos of private premises, provided the place of business
at the farm (or saleyards, abattoirs, feedlots or other allied industries falls within the definition
of private place.
5. Support producers to be ready, willing and able to collect and pass on evidence to the Police
to allow prosecution
Maintain good security, ensure staff are aware of the risk of invasions and notify
immediately any concerns and record suspicious behaviours, producers supported to
request Police proceed with prosecution, collect evidence, take photographs, report
quickly.
Encourage affected producers to collect evidence, take photos, report early and document.
Prosecutions are a lot of work for everyone involved they are not for the faint hearted
but the Police are experts in this area and they notice the deterrent effect of successful
prosecutions. Producers must go into it however knowing that there will be time and stress
impacts on them, their businesses and possibly their staff and families.
6. Other
-

Ensure obligations on all those who create biosecurity risks are stated clearly, and penalties
are sufficient to drive mitigation steps to be taken (General Biosecurity Duty or GBD
articulating the content of the GBD will establish the standard expected, making proof of
breach more straightforward)

Jurisdictional
governments to
work with their
Attorney
Generals/Justice
Department and
Police Services.
Police Services
Other agencies
Industry bodies
Producer networks

Document the consequences of the trespass


for the person, family, employees and the
consequences for the business (production
loss, biosecurity risk, financial and
reputational impacts).

Shared responsibility
between industry,
producers and
governments

Attachment B INT16/42293

Develop an engagement strategy with peak industry stakeholders and individual farmers to
highlight the biosecurity risks arising from farm incursions

Stakeholder and community engagement/action plan to be developed promoting


industry/government roundtables, facilitate engagement between farmers, Police and
other enforcement agencies, develop information packs and fact sheets about ways to
minimise risks of farm trespass, and develop communication strategies about the
importance of biosecurity to NSW and Australia and the risks and costs arising from farm
trespass

DPI to work with industry and Police to facilitate training on best practice on-farm
surveillance methods.
D. Strengthen legislative and regulatory requirements and controls for prosecution
1. States, Territories and Commonwealth to ensure that there are sufficient and appropriate
laws in place for Farm Trespass incidents to be prosecuted and those penalties are
appropriate.
2. Ensure that biosecurity laws are in place and that there is good understanding in the
community about the importance of everybody meeting relevant biosecurity standards,

All governments
All governments

3. Reiterate a clear message that existing laws are adequate and there is no intention to
introduce ag gag laws in Australian jurisdictions

All governments

4. Seek to achieve greater harmony and consistency between jurisdictions in relation to laws
for trespass, privacy breaches, surveillance use, drone use and biosecurity regulation

All governments
through Agriculture
Ministers Forum
DPI/Department of
Industry
DoJ
Police Service/MPES

5. Other suggestions
-

NSW DPI to work with Police/Ministry of Police and Emergency Services (MPES) and
Department of Justice to improve understanding of and response to Farm Trespass in rural
NSW. Relevant agencies to conduct similar reviews on other jurisdictions.

Work with Police to identified priority scenarios based on risk, and to coordinate

Clear messaging that animal activists cannot


be exempt from this obligation, but are bound
by the same rules as all others.
Note that the application of laws around
newer surveillance technologies eg drones has
yet to be tested

How often are existing laws used to protect


the privacy, reputation, autonomy and safety
of farmers and farm businesses in cases of
trespass? What is the fate of these
prosecutions?
9

Attachment B INT16/42293

intelligence
-

Develop prosecution guidelines for action against trespass, nuisance and surveillance
offences

Monitor and evaluate Farm Trespass incidents and trends provide evidence base to
identify areas needing operational intervention or escalation of regulatory responses

Establish a cross agency working group (DPI/DoJ/Police) within each jurisdiction to better
understand the significant economic, social and environmental risks posed by farm
incursions, and the evidence requirements for proof of Surveillance Act offences.

Provide information packs to farmers on launching civil action for trespass and nuisance.

Prosecution guidelines specific to Farm


Trespass incidents may not be appropriate,
but there may be scope for giving judicial
officers more information on the true impacts
of farm incursions, financial and otherwise;
and also for local Police to work with high risk
producers in certain areas to improve farm
security and protections). Document learnings
from previous incidents and prosecutions to
assist in future cases. Producers need to be
given confidence and encouraged to report,
associations and industry bodies need to assist
farmers to take action and government
services such as Police need to be resourced
to respond
Is civil action by affected farms a realistic
alternative? Police investigations take a long
time. NSW Farmers Association has a legal
advisory group which could provide a
framework or support for farmers wishing to
pursue civil action the advantage is the
lower standard of proof compared to criminal
prosecutions.

10

Your review rights under the GIPA Act

Fact sheet
June 2014

The right to information system in NSW aims


to foster responsible and representative
government that is open, fair and effective.
You have the right to request a review of certain
decisions made by government agencies about
the release of information under the Government
Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act):
a) a decision that an application is not a valid
access application
b) a decision to transfer an access application to
another agency, as an agency-initiated transfer
c) a decision to refuse to deal with an access
application (including such a decision that is
deemed to have been made)
d) a decision to provide access or to refuse to
provide access to information in response to
an access application
e) a decision that government information is not
held by the agency
f)

a decision that information applied for is already


available to the applicant

g) a decision to refuse to confirm or deny that


information is held by the agency
h) a decision to defer the provision of access to
information in response to an access application
i)

a decision to provide access to information in


a particular way in response to an access
application (or a decision not to provide access
in the way requested by the applicant)

j)

a decision to impose a processing charge or


to require an advance deposit,

k) a decision to refuse a reduction in a processing


charge
l)

a decision to refuse to deal further with an access


application because an applicant has failed to
pay an advance deposit within the time required
for payment

m) a decision to include information in a disclosure


log despite an objection by the authorised objector
(or a decision that the authorised objector was not
entitled to object).
You generally have three review options.

1. Internal review
You have 20 working days after the notice of a decision
has been posted to you to ask for an internal review by
the agency that made the decision.
If a Minister or their personal staff, or the principal officer
of an agency made the decision, you cannot ask for an
internal review, but you can ask for an external review
(see below).
The review must be carried out by an officer who is
no less senior than the person who made the original
decision. The review decision must be made as if it
was a fresh application.
There is a $40 fee for an internal review application.
No fee applies for an internal review if the decision is a
deemed refusal because the agency did not process
your application in time or the internal review is
conducted because the Information Commissioner has
recommended the agency reconsider its decision under
section 93 of the GIPA Act. In this case, you cannot be
charged any review fee.
The agency must acknowledge your application within
five working days of receiving it. The agency must
decide the internal review within 15 working days (this
can be extended by 10 working days if the agency has
to consult with a third party, or by agreement with you).

2. External review by the Information


Commissioner
If you disagree with any of the decisions listed above,
you can ask for a review by the Information
Commissioner.
If you are the person applying for access to information,
you do not have to have an internal review of the
decision before asking the Information Commissioner
to review it.
If you are not the access applicant, you must seek an
internal review before applying for review by the
Information Commissioner. However, if an internal
review cannot be sought (if a Minister or their personal
staff, or the principal officer of an agency made the
decision), you can seek a review by the Information
Commissioner.
You have 40 working days from being notified of
the decision to ask for a review by the Information
Commissioner.

information and privacy commission new south wales


www.ipc.nsw.gov.au | 1800 IPC NSW (1800 472 679)

Your review rights under the GIPA Act

Fact sheet
June 2014

On reviewing the decision, the Information


Commissioner can make recommendations about
the decision to the agency.
Note: You cannot ask the Information Commissioner
to review a decision that has already been reviewed by
the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

3. External review by the NSW Civil and


Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
If you disagree with any of the decisions listed above,
you can ask for a review by NCAT. You do not have to
have the decision reviewed internally, or by the
Information Commissioner before applying for review
by NCAT.
You have 40 working days from being notified of the
decision to apply to NCAT for review. However,
if you have applied for review by the Information
Commissioner, you have 20 working days from
being notified of the Information Commissions review
outcome to apply to NCAT.

For more information


Contact the Information and Privacy Commission
NSW (IPC):
Freecall:
Email:
Website:

1800 472 679


ipcinfo@ipc.nsw.gov.au
www.ipc.nsw.gov.au

information and privacy commission new south wales


www.ipc.nsw.gov.au | 1800 IPC NSW (1800 472 679)