The New South Wales government is accepting applications for its first state agriculture commissioner.
The commissioner will be tasked with overseeing the development and implementation of the state government’s “right to farm” strategy — following on from a controversial bill passed last month — in a bid to stop animal activists from trespassing on farms, according to agriculture minister Adam Marshall.
“The NSW government made history this year and enshrined a farmers’ right to farm in law to protect them from ridiculous legal cases and introduced the toughest penalties in the nation for farm trespass, including three years gaol time,” he said. “The time is right to now appoint a commissioner, to work with our state’s farmers, government agencies and stakeholders.”
The bill has been criticised by civil liberties organisations, environment groups and unions for attempting to “intimidate activists” and introduce penalties for “peaceful assembly and protest activities that have nothing to do with farming”.
The policy will also look at land use conflict, the protection of agricultural land from urban encroachment, and long-term planning issues. The commissioner will implement a plan to “deep-dive into these three key areas” on behalf of primary and secondary agricultural producers, Marshall said, and could potentially sit on agricultural advisory panels at the state and federal level.
“The commissioner will be another set of eyes and ears on the ground providing regular briefs and reports to me and the government,” he said.
Applications will close in February 2020. Applicants can submit a CV and cover letter to [email protected]