‘It is soul destroying’: Farmer’s wife’s heartbreaking plea to save them from bankruptcy
A farmer’s wife has made an emotional plea to the Environment Minister as she struggles with the prospect of bankruptcy if her family is prosecuted under repealed laws.
Under the laws, farmers must acquire a permit to cut down bush on their own land, but for every hectare of land cleared farmers are forbidden from touching four hectares of their own land.
The Native Vegetation Act was repealed in 2017 to introduce fairer legislation, but farmers are still being prosecuted under the old law, facing fines of up to $500,000.
Farmers wife Stephanie tells Ben Fordham her family is under investigation after they cleared some of their land.
“It was unproductive, you couldn’t graze cattle upon it because of the regrowth from the floods.
“We’ve really struggled… to get to where we are today, to find out that the possibility that we will lose everything if we are prosecuted, to which we will be found guilty because nobody is never not found guilty.
“I would implore the minister to come and speak to the farmers… see the lives that we lead.
“It is soul destroying. There are days when you wish you could get in the car and drive away.”
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Environment Minister Matt Kean tells Ben he will meet with these farmers to investigate the matter.
“My view is that no one should be prosecuted for clearing that would be allowed under the current legislation.
“There are over 100 matters currently being investigated.
“Not all of those investigations will end up with fines.”
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A farmer wishing to remain anonymous emailed Ben of her struggle.
“We have survived many droughts but never have I experienced the trauma that I am going through right now.”