Rural Safety

Keeping your livestock and your livelihood safe and secure

Protecting Your Rural Property from Theft

Farms are often relatively easy targets for thieves.  The end result is incerased insurance, security and law enforcement costs.  It’s pretty hard to stop determined thieves, however, your chances are a lot better if you make life as difficult as possible for them.

For your best chance to reduce theft and costs incurred:

  • Secure loading ramps and stockyards at remote locations, to prevent unauthorised use.
  • Where possible, build permanent and portable stockyards in view of homesteads.
  • Be alert and secure your property.
  • Remove keys from machinery.
  • Lock doors of machinery cabs.
  • Use lockable fuel caps.
  • Return broken down machinery to the shed.
  • Store large farm equipment in secure sheds or highly visible areas.
  • Store valuable equipment in a secure building out of sight, behind a locked door.
  • Use high security padlocks and lock outbuildings when you are not using them.
  • Consider building a lockable metal cage inside a building for tool storage.
  • Instal outdoor security lights where you know you have valuable equipment.

If you become aware of any information about individuals who have engaged in theft from farms and other country properties, report what you know.  The smallest piece of information could lead to a criminal charge and a safer environment for you and your family.

Victoria Police urge anyone who may have information related to any farming or livestock theft incident to contact Crime Stoppers or their local Police Station.

Protect Your Livestock and Report Farm Crime

Many farmers fail to report livestock theft because they do not think police can do much about a relatively small scale report, however, one report might provide the final piece of information needed for an investigating officer to solve and complete a livestock investigation and charge a thief.

Victoria Police encourages farmers to protect themselves from stock loss by tagging their livestock at an early age and not leaving this until the day before a major sale. The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is Australia’s system for livestock identification (eartags, microchips etc). It enables livestock to be tracked from their property of birth to slaughter.

Other things to consider:

  • Photographing and videoing your livestock regularly to assist with identification.
  • Keep receipts / records of any purchase as proof of ownership.
  • Keep track of any agisted stock and their markings.
  • Check stock numbers regularly, especially those out of view from the homestead.

Remember – no matter how small your loss, always report livestock theft.


Ensure your fencing is secure and external gates have locks.  Owners or occupiers of land used for the grazing of livestock must ensure fencing on that land is adequate for the purpose of preventing livestock from straying onto any adjacent road.

Local Laws Officers may serve a Notice to Comply on the owner or occupier of the land requiring him or her to install, repair, replace or modify fencing and gates to prevent the livestock on the property from straying onto any adjacent road.

Failure to comply with the Notice to Comply can result fines. Local Laws and police respond to hundreds of incidents of livestock straying from their paddocks onto adjacent land or onto roadways. These unsafe situations can lead to the injury or death of both people and animals. Landowners and the owners of livestock are reminded of their responsibility to properly maintain their fences.

Safe Storage of Firearms

It is not unusual for rural burglaries to involve the theft of firearms.  Firearm owners have responsibilities and legal requirements they must follow for the safe storage of firearms.  Gun safes are the most secure option.

Quad Bikes

All users of quad bikes should be vigilant and ride within their limitations. Many quad bike accidents occur in remote areas, often without anyone else present. This makes the potential for serious injury or death very high.

Quad bikes continue to increase in popularity as they are useful machines for farmers in tending to crops and livestock. They are quick and efficient. However, they are also extremely dangerous when not used prudently and within safety guidelines.

Quad bikes are not all-terrain vehicles as they are not stable, robust machines with ‘go-anywhere’ capabilities. There are legal and occupational health and safety requirements pertaining to assist farmers and farm managers in identifying and controlling risks when using quad bikes and more information can be found at Quad Bikes – Worksafe Victoria.