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Nationals leader Mia Davies visits Boyanup Saleyards

Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Leader of the Nationals Mia Davies visit the Boyanup saleyards.
Camera IconLeader of the Nationals Mia Davies visit the Boyanup saleyards. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

A significant increase in penalties for trespassers and the restoration of the Rural Stock Squad will be the key focus for the Nationals WA if returned to State Government.

During her visit to the iconic Boyanup Saleyards, Nationals leader Mia Davies said regional communities had been crying out for additional police support and stronger deterrents for activists for more than a year.

“We have seen statistics reported back to us in and around stock, firearms and vehicle and machinery theft and we don’t think that can continue to go unchecked,” Ms Davies said.

“There doesn’t seem to be any degree or urgency or understanding from them about what impact this is having on the communities that we represent.”

Ms Davies said that this particular type of crime warrants the return of a Rural Stock Squad.

“The squad will allow more of a focus on agricultural and rural-based crime, which we see reported back to us on a regular basis,” she said.

However, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the idea of reinstating the Rural Stock Squad was not a well thought out one.

“The Nationals are trying to get back to the future by bringing back the Rural Stock Squad when really we have moved on and have a more contemporary response,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“The squad dealt with stock theft and we now have something more sophisticated than that to deal with activism and that is the Rural Crime Unit.

“That unit is made up of specialists in rural crime and addresses both the stock theft and unwarranted activism and their performance so far has been excellent.”

With the escalation of activities perpetrated by activist groups on farming properties, sale yards, restaurants and cafes, Ms Davies said it is about time a strong message is sent out to those involved.

“Animal activists have been emboldened because this Labor government won’t act and that will be one of our focuses returning to Parliament.”

Ms MacTiernan said an ‘us and them’ approach between the Opposition is not in the best interest of the farmers.

“It is important we try not to incite an us and them approach,” she said.

“We want the livestock industry to have a good reputation and I think it would be in the best interest of farmers for us to try not to entice a level of activism by these inflammatory statements.”

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