Farm­ers raise crime con­cern

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

NSW Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion is pleased a num­ber of key leg­isla­tive and op­er­a­tional changes rec­om­mended in its sub­mis­sion to the Brad­shaw Re­view to com­bat ru­ral crime have been adopted by the NSW Gov­ern­ment.

NSW Farm­ers’ pres­i­dent Derek Schoen said in­creas­ing sen­tences for per­pe­tra­tors car­ry­ing out ru­ral crime of­fences was an im­por­tant step for­ward.

‘‘NSW Farm­ers wel­comes the dou­bling of the max­i­mum penalty for il­le­gal hunt­ing on pri­vate land from $1100 to $2200, a new ag­gra­vated tres­pass of­fence where there is an en­hanced biose­cu­rity risk, in­tent to en­gage in stock theft, or the pres­ence of hunt­ing equip­ment and a spe­cific ref­er­ence to a vic­tim’s ge­o­graph­i­cal iso­la­tion as an ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tor on sen­tence.

‘‘How­ever, NSW Farm­ers is dis­ap­pointed that there are no rec­om­men­da­tions in the Brad­shaw Re­view that ad­dress the cur­rent inad­e­quate sen­tenc­ing by mag­is­trates for stock theft.

‘‘This was a key rec­om­men­da­tion put for­ward by NSW Farm­ers, as well as a manda­tory con­sid­er­a­tion of a vic­tim im­pact state­ment as a part of any ru­ral crime trial.

‘‘We are also con­cerned about the rec­om­men­da­tion for the li­cens­ing of range­land goat op­er­a­tors as it wouldn’t de­crease theft and would only add to the com­pli­ance bur­den on those op­er­at­ing within the law.

‘‘We will en­sure we put for­ward our mem­bers’ con­cerns to gov­ern­ment around this pro­posal,’’ Mr Schoen said.

The NSW Gov­ern­ment has out­lined its sup­port to im­ple­ment op­er­a­tional changes in­clud­ing around po­lice re­sources and stake­holder en­gage­ment, which would in­clude work­ing with NSW Farm­ers.

‘‘The as­so­ci­a­tion looks for­ward to en­gag­ing with the NSW po­lice force in the ed­u­ca­tion of of­fi­cers on the farm­ing in­dus­try,’’ Mr Schoen said.

‘‘This will de­velop deeper com­mu­nity re­la­tion­ships and as­sist po­lice of­fi­cers tar­get­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing stock theft.’’

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