District farmers and agricultural business owners, such as Southern Meats, have welcomed new legislation to protect them from animal activists.
The Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019 makes it a criminal offence to incite trespass, property damage or theft on agricultural land.
Under the proposed laws, offenders face penalties of up to five years' imprisonment for damaging property, or theft, and up to 12 months for trespassing and fines as high as $12,600.
The new Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives on July 4.
A spokesperson from the Attorney General's department said the Commonwealth offences target those who encourage others to commit these offences using a carriage service (such as the Internet) to incite trespass or property damage on agricultural land.
"Those engaging in the primary offence of trespass or property damage would still be subject to state and territory criminal laws," the spokesperson said.
"As with almost all Commonwealth offences, these federal offences would be prosecuted in state and territory courts."
The activists who chained themselves to a conveyor belt at Southern Meats on April 8 were part of a nation-wide protest organised from the cities. These activists travelled down from Sydney and Canberra to stage the protest.
All nine have since been dealt with by the Goulburn Local Court, receiving heavy fines and with some being placed on Community Corrections Orders.
Southern Meats general manager Craig Newton welcomed the Bill.
"This is a very good move by the federal government and I welcome it," Mr Newton said.
"It is an important piece of legislation. Our business is secure and anyone who trespasses on it will be prosecuted - as we saw earlier this year. I am all for it. It is very positive."
Goulburn Branch Chair of NSW Farmers Margaret Cameron said it was timely.
"It is a great start. I absolutely welcome it," she said.
"The fact that they introduced it so swiftly shows they understood the concerns that farmers have with trespassers and associated risks with workplace health and safety. Going onto farms puts the workers at risk and the families who live there. It also affects biosecurity."