CHANGES to Queensland stock laws have been welcomed by one of agriculture's strongest advocates.
Premier Campbell Newman declared the new laws would deter perpetrators from future offending in Central Queensland last weekend.
Among the changes announced with Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie in Emerald are increased minimum fines from $200 to $1100 per animal, extending stock-related search warrants of police from one to three weeks, and maintaining the power of police to return stolen stock to owners.
AgForce cattle president Howard Smith said the amendments were a realisation of the organisation's long-fought-for changes.
"Losses from stock theft annually can be many millions of dollars and are a malicious impost on the rural sector," he said.
"We welcome the government's moves to take a harder line on stock crimes and to give more power to law enforcement to convict perpetrators and protect stock owners."
Mr Smith also acknowledged the work of AgForce Cattle board director Ian Harsant in being a tireless advocate for stock law reform.
"Ian has invested huge amounts of time and energy in both developing AgForce's stock law policy and lobbying for reform," Mr Smith said.
"It is pleasing to see these changes announced and for government to endeavour to reduce the impact of rural crime on our primary producers' bottom line.
"Thanks must also go to the members of the Stock Working Group, chaired by the Honourable Justice John A Jerrard, who developed these recommendations."
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said that was why the government was throwing the book at stock thieves.
"The minimum fines for a range of stock offences will now be increased from $200 to $1100 per animal or the value of the animal, whichever is the higher amount," Mr Bleijie said.
"This reflects the seriousness of any cattle offence no matter the level of criminality.
"These fines will hit the hip pocket of those who attempt to profit from hard-working farmers."
- Extending police stock-related search warrant durations from 7 to 21 days
- Modernising evidentiary requirements
- Maintaining the ability of police to immediately return cattle to victims of crime
- Streamlining the disposal process where there is a dispute as to ownership
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