Activist map restricted by Privacy Act

Monday, 08 April, 2019

Activist map restricted by Privacy Act

Australian farmers are set to be better protected from attacks from activists with the Aussie Farms Incorporated website now listed under the Privacy Act.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the activists posed a risk to hardworking farming communities and producers. “The company publishes information about Australian farmers and agricultural producers including their names and addresses, exposing them to potential trespass, biosecurity hazards and reputational damage.”

The website features a map which the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) said is “designed to incite people to enter the identified premises without authorisation to obtain covert footage”.

Since the group published the addresses of more than 3000 farm and farm-related businesses on the map in January, NFF said there have been more farm invasions. “Common sense would directly link this to the Aussie Farms map.”

Until now, the company was exempt from the Privacy Act because its annual turnover was less than $3 million, but as it is now prescribed as an ‘organisation’ under the Privacy Act, it must comply regardless of its annual turnover. If Aussie Farms breaches the Act, which includes laws against the misuse of personal information, it risks penalties of more than $400,000.

The company refused to take the website down despite several requests from Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud.

“The farming families who grow our food deserve to be able to do so without fear of invasion on their property and harm to their children,” Littleproud said. “The fact Aussie Farms refused to take the website down when invasions began happening on farms displayed on their map shows they intend for it to be used as an attack map for activists.”

He called on state governments to provide real penalties for trespass and to publicly state they expect the police to uphold these laws.

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