Livestock Management Act Changes
The changes to the Act aim to:
- reduce biosecurity risks and the spread of diseases on Victorian livestock farms
- deter people from trespassing on farms with the introduction of new offences
- better enable prosecutions of trespassers and allow for the issuing of on-the-spot fines.
Changes in Practice on Farm
The new laws establish a voluntary framework which requires visitors to follow prescribed biosecurity measures.
Those who fail to follow these measures can be prosecuted.
For an offence to be enforceable the following must be followed:
- A biosecurity Management plan (BMP)
- Compliant signage in place
- Visitor consent procedures (including providing written notice of consent or withdrawal of consent) are followed
The BMP coversheet template contains the mandatory content required under the new laws for an offence to be enforced. It should be added as a coversheet to any existing biosecurity plans on your property and does not replace an on-farm biosecurity plan.
Biosecurity Management Plans (BMPs)
Biosecurity management plans (BMPs) contain measures to prevent, eliminate or minimise the risk of biosecurity impacts at places where livestock management activities occur.
- A clear title: including the words ‘BIOSECURITY MANAGEMENT PLAN‘ and the address of the premises to which it applies.
- Contact information: the name and contact details of the nominated person(s).
- Area description: a description, map or plan of the whole or specified part of the premises to which the BMP applies, that accurately describes the boundaries of the premises.
- Preparation details: additional details including the day that the BMP comes into operation and the name of the person who prepared the BMP.
A BMP can apply to the whole property, span across multiple properties or only apply to a specific part of the property. Or a property may have a single BMP which applies to the whole area/property, or have multiple BMPs each applying to different areas within the same property (e.g. one for Sheep feedlot and one for grazing pastures).
As part of the BMP, you must specify where the BMP applies by either using a hand-drawn map, photograph or electronic image showing vehicular and pedestrian access points (example of a map is shown above).
To ensure all potential visitors are aware of the law and their obligations, signs must be placed in clear view at all vehicle access points to the area outlined in the BMP. Where there are no vehicular access points, signs are to be placed at all pedestrian access points.
Under the new laws, biosecurity signs must contain the following:
- The word ‘STOP’ or ‘VISITORS’
- A reference to the ‘Livestock Management Regulations 2021’
- A statement that not following the prescribed biosecurity measures is an offence
- A summary of any prescribed biosecurity measures that apply to the premises (or the specified part of the premises)
- The method of contacting a nominated person (e.g. phone number, email, QR code) for a visitor to obtain consent for a prescribed biosecurity measure.
Biosecurity signs do not need to include the name of the nominated person. However, you must ensure that the contact details of the nominated person remain up-to-date (for example, if the nominated person leaves employment).
The AgVIC website lists 12 template designs available for download including those with QR codes which can be scanned to request consent from the property manager. Alternatively, you can adapt your current biosecurity signs to include the required information via the application of a robust (e.g. vinyl) sticker.
All biosecurity signs must be at least 290mm × 385mm in size and constructed of sturdy, weather-resistant material, with words that are legible and contrast with any background colour (for example, black text on a white background).
As part of the framework, a visitor must seek consent from a nominated person prior to entering and remaining on a livestock premises. Visitor consent procedures must be followed for the new offence laws and penalties to apply.
Click here to download a copy of the Visitor Consent Form.
If Livestock managers are concerned that a person is breaching or has breached the biosecurity measures in place, the following reporting options are available depending on level of threat:
- Victoria Police on 000
- Victoria Police via the Police Assistance Line on 131 444
- Agriculture Victoria on 1300 502 656 (during business hours)
- Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888 (after business hours)
Penalties for Offenders
The penalties for non-compliance with prescribed biosecurity measures include:
On-the-spot fine (infringement offence):
- For an individual, equivalent to $1,294 (in 2022–2023)
- For an organisation, equivalent to $8,321 (in 2022–2023)
For more serious offending where prosecution is undertaken, and it proceeds to the Magistrates’ Court for determination:
- For an individual, up to $11,095 (in 2022–2023)
- For an organisation, up to $55,476 (in 2022–2023)
Other offences include:
- Damaging or defacing a biosecurity sign
- Providing false or misleading information to a nominated person when requesting consent
- Not complying with an inspector’s request to view a notice of consent.
AgVic – Changes to the Livestock Management Act 2010 for more information and links to templates. Their frequently asked questions can be found here.
For more information on farm biosecurity planning and templates, see here.
For more resources on Better On-Farm Biosecurity, you can see the AHA website or have a read of our fact sheet.
For further information, please contact the VFF Livestock Group on 1300 882 833 or by email [email protected]
Disclaimer: All care is taken in the preparation of the information and published materials produced by the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) including but not limited to errors, defects or omissions in the information provided. VFF does not make any representations or give any warranties about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability for any particular purpose in the preparation of the information and published materials. This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute financial, legal, investment, production, or marketing advice. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the VFF and all persons acting on behalf of the VFF in preparing documents, are excluded from all and any liability for any loss or damage of any kind arising in relation to this publication including any reliance on the information contained herein.