If re-elected, the Napthine Coalition Government will contribute $2 million over four years to establish a new Rural and Farming Legal Centre where farmers and people with legal issues specific to rural and farming areas will have access to all necessary legal information.
“To ensure viable farms and food security, we must stop farms being threatened by unreasonable demands from urban encroachment, unlawful conduct by activists and unfair pressures from competing commercial interests, so I’m rapt this initiative will support rural communities and rural and regional legal firms to assist our farmers,” said Member for Western Victoria David O’Brien.
According to the media release, the Centre will be supported by pro bono legal assistance and partnerships with rural and regional law firms and will provide legal information, advice or assistance on matters such as:
- Trespass, easement or nuisance issues arising from interactions between farmers and neighbours, protestors or companies such as resource and mining companies;
- Resolving fencing and other farming disputes;
- Representing farming interests in court in appropriate test cases;
- The development of skills for new rural legal practitioners; and
- Promoting pro bono opportunities in rural areas.
“Farmers and those in rural areas can face significant legal challenges that require specialist legal information and advice on areas such as farming and environmental law,” said Attorney-General Robert Clark.
“Existing specialist community legal centres target important issues such as mental health, senior’s rights and tenancy disputes, but there is no specialist community legal centre for rural and farming issues. The Centre will also promote the importance of specialist rural legal practice and the significant expertise held by Victoria’s country-based legal practitioners.”