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Fact Check-Amendments to legislation in Victoria, Australia, will not prevent citizens from growing their own food

Draft legislation being debated in the Australian state of Victoria will not prevent people from growing their own food, as has been claimed online.

One Twitter user (here), whose post has been shared more than 13,000 times, wrote: “Australia is passing a bill that will prevent people from growing their own food. Totally normal.”

Similar posts can be seen elsewhere on Twitter (here), Facebook (here, here, here, here and here) and Instagram (here).

The claims pertain to the Agriculture Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (here), a draft piece of legislation drawn up to make changes to 11 separate acts of parliament. Such acts include the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, the Dairy Act 2000, and the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

However, a spokesperson for the Victorian Government, along with two separate experts in agricultural law, told Reuters that the claims about the bill and growing food were not true.

“No one will be prevented from growing their own food as part of these changes,” the Victoria Government spokesperson said via email.

They added that the bill was designed to support the agriculture sector, as well as safeguard food security, food safety and access to export markets.

Professor Michael Blakeney, from the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture (here), said he “couldn’t find anything” within the bill that “prevents people cultivating food crops on their own properties”.

His comments were also echoed by Rocque Reynolds, a professor of law at the Australian Catholic University, specializing in agriculture (here), who said: “The amendments have added regulations to the growing of legal cannabis but do not otherwise change much about ‘growing your own’.”

Reuters also found no evidence that the legislation includes plans to prevent people from growing their own food.

A similar claim was made about New Zealand’s laws and addressed in a fact check by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) in November 2020 (here).

VERDICT

False. The state of Victoria is not introducing new legislation that will prohibit people from growing their own food.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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