As the use of drone technology increases, it is important for farmers to know their rights and obligations regarding drone usage. Currently there are various rules in place, such as the need to avoid creating hazards, respect personal privacy laws, and comply with height and proximity limits. The Civil Aviation Safety Authorities (CASA) has also put into immediate effect, requirements for operators flying a drone in an extended visual line of sight to obtain ongoing approval and to create a buffer between a drone and any controlled airspace. In the next year CASA will be phasing in new rules, regarding registration and accreditation, including an online training program. The details are not yet confirmed, however CASA maintain that it will not be onerous or expensive.

In a recent rural crime workshop, the NSW Police addressed growing concerns surrounding unauthorised drone usage. This has caused problems for farmers, particularly in respect to animal rights activists publicising misleading footage. Other issues include criminals using drone technology to plan farm raids. If an unknown drone flies over your land, the NSW Police advise that you contact the local police, who will investigate the matter and then refer it to CASA to issue appropriate penalties. Filming the drone is useful to assist with the investigations. The NSW Police advise that damaging or confiscating the drone can result in police prosecutions.

Contact M+E with any concerns or for further information.

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