AFP, published on Friday, May 13, 2022 at 3:55 p.m.
In publications shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter since May 9, 2022, Internet users denounce the adoption of a law in Australia which would prohibit “growing your own food”. They are worried about a serious attack on freedoms which could reach other countries. But the bill in question, currently under parliamentary debate and aimed on the contrary to support agriculture, does not contain such a provision, as confirmed by the government and the parliament of Victoria to AFP.“New law in Australia where citizens will be prohibited from growing their own food… the noose is tightening…“, “In Australia, Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews is pushing through a bill that means you won’t be allowed to grow your own food anymore“…
According to this statement, which since May 9 has accumulated hundreds of shares on Facebook (1, 2) and on Twitter (3), as well as more than 11,000 views on a Telegram publication (4), the Parliament of the State of Victoria, in Australia, would have adopted a particularly restrictive law as regards agriculture.
And for some of these Internet users, these alleged devices adopted for reasons of “biosecurity“could well be emulated in other countries, including France.
Screenshot taken on Facebook on May 12, 2022. Screenshot taken on Twitter on May 12, 2022.
But contrary to what this rumor says, this text does not provide for such a measure: no prohibition on growing one’s own food is included in the bill, which can be consulted in full on the website of the Parliament of Victoria.
“The changes induced [par ce texte] do not prohibit anyone from growing their own food, they aim to support the agricultural sector, which represents more than 17 billion dollars annually for the state economy and more than 67,100 jobs“, further confirms a spokesperson for the Victorian government to AFP.
Reached by AFP, the Victorian parliament stresses that “the claim that the Agriculture Act prohibits growing your own food is false“.
What does this text provide? Entitled “Agriculture Legislation Amendment Bill 2022“, this text presented for the first time to the local parliament on April 5, 2022 aims to modify eleven different laws, some dating from the 1980s or 1990s, in order to improve them”the performance, operation, administration and application“, as the speaker of the parliament of Victoria, Jacinta Allan, explained during her second parliamentary reading, on April 6.
Several amendments to this bill relate to the “Land Capture and Protection Act 1994“.
“Globalization and the rise of trade exposing Victoria to increased biosecurity risks as the number of new incursions into the state increases […], these amendments introduce new offenses and put in place new requirements to deal with them. These amendments improve our ability to manage risks associated with weeds and pests“, detailed Jacinta Allan during this presentation.
During the parliamentary debates of May 3, transcribed on the site of the Parliament of Victoria, the opposition MP Roma Britnell had herself defended certain elements of the bill: “Some of these amendments are positive, including allowing authorized officers […] to better investigate to avoid the invasion of harmful plants, contamination by infectious diseases of certain animals or biosecurity problems“. This change should, according to her, make it possible to deal with epidemics like this “currently living with Japanese encephalitis“, a viral disease transmitted by mosquito bites.
As of May 13, the bill was still before the upper house of parliament, after being passed in the lower house.
A “distortion” and a “misinterpretation” of the textFaced with the extent of the rumor about the alleged ban on growing your own food, the Ministry of Agriculture of Victoria returned in detail, in a dedicated page, to this allegation as to other misleading assertions.
For its part, in a press release published on May 6, the Victorian Farmers’ Federation (VFF), explained “having become aware of the misinformation circulating around the Farming Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, currently being debated in Parliament in Victoria.”
“The disinformation relating to this project implies that the authorized officers will be able to carry out excavations without a warrant, without the agreement of the owner of the land and without being obliged to identify themselves. [eux-mêmes]”, which is, according to the VFF, a “denaturation“and one”wrong interpretation” amendments provided for in the text.
At the beginning of May, Australia pledged, along with other major agricultural powers such as the European Union, the United States and Canada, to ensure world food security despite the shocks caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We pledge to work together to ensure there is enough food for everyone, including the poorest, most vulnerable and displaced people.“, wrote these 51 members of the World Trade Organization in a joint press release.