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.’’