Archive:  Intensive Animal Industries

Last Updated  31/10/17




NEW  Urgent Action Required  State Government Is Removing Existing Prohibitions On Pig, Poultry And Broiler Farms In Rural Conservation, Rural Living and Industrial Zones

(31/10/17 - P)  Worse, these uses won't even need a permit in the Farming Zone, and grazing is replaced with intensive 'supplementary feeding'.  Thinking of moving to regional Victoria?  Don't bother unless you can live with industrial animal production next door... Submissions close November 14   Intensive Animal Industries File  Smart Planning File 


The State government is proposing changes across rural Victoria to make intensive animal industries "sustainable", saying "the proposed planning reforms will better support animal industries across the state" .  These dramatic and far-reaching changes certainly leave no part of the State unscathed.  But rather than "sustainable", these changes just make more intensive and more animal production in more places. 


Existing long-standing prohibitions on intensive animal husbandry are being removed in the Rural Conservation Zone (Victoria's only conservation zone), and the Rural Living Zone (which has a default minimum lot size of 2ha), with prohibitions only to remain for cattle feedlots and intensive dairy farms.  Everything else - pigs, poultry, goats, deer - in fact production of any bird or any mammal (except rodents!) and their resultant animal products, will no longer be prohibited.  Prohibitions are also removed from intensive supplementary feeding operations in these sensitive zones (shades of Wagyu beef?).   And all of this without restrictions on size, number or type of animals, environmental and conservation sensitivity, setbacks - or location in drinking water catchments.


Same thing is happening in Industrial zones, regardless of whether they are next to or inside towns, except they get cattle feedlots as well.


In the Farming Zone, up to 200 chooks and 10 emus, and either 10 pigs or 3 sows, a boar AND their progeny (22 pigs allowing 6 piglets per sow), are OK without a permit if they are 50m away from the house next door, or a residential zone.  Gets worse - your rights to know, object and go to VCAT are taken away for applications for up to 450 chooks, 25 emus/ostriches, and 8 sows, a boar and their progeny (57 pigs) - if they are 100m away from the house next door or a residential zone.  Associated structures are free to blight the landscape because they don't necessarily need a permit either.


Grazing isn't what it used to be - it's proposed to become supplementary feeding with grazing on the side, no permit required in the Farming Zone (any number) if feeding structures are 100m from your house or a residential zone (but can be closer with a permit).  In the Rural Conservation, Rural Living and Industrial Zones, requires a permit (any number) but with no conditions, restrictions, setbacks.


Proposed changes to zones, and land use definitions, are currently on exhibition, along with three new Particular Provisions for Pig Farm, Poultry Farm and Grazing Animal Production.   Submissions close NOVEMBER 14.


Here's a link to make or upload a submission.

Here's a link to the "Sustainable Animal Industries" website.


MRRA Says: 


This is "sustainable"?  What are they thinking...

Pfft!  There goes the neighbourhood, and residential amenity, and the environment, and drinking water catchments, and State level landscape and biodiversity significance - and with more blurring of what zones mean, proper planning:  WRONG WAY, GO BACK!


Seems nowhere is safe from this industrial animal production mania - anyone for a spot of pig, poultry, goat or deer production on Mount Macedon?  Upstream of Lauriston Reservoir?  In the 1ha and 2ha Rural Living Zones recently approved in Amendment C110 around Gisborne?  On Mount Aitken?  In the Industrial 3 zones in Woodend and Romsey?  Out in the forest at Bullengarook?


These changes are blunt instruments that crush environmental credibility.  Why make these changes at all?  No restrictions in forested areas?  No restrictions in open drinking water catchments?  Unbelievable. No restrictions on setbacks or scale either, so pick a number.  And now that so many houses have been approved in Macedon Ranges' rural zones - and particularly the Farming Zone - what an attractive, healthy, safe living environment all this will make - not.  Try rural NSW or South Australia instead.


The Rural Conservation Zone is applied to Victoria's most environmentally valuable and vulnerable areas.  Rural Living Zones are usually where people want to live "the dream".  Think about it... think about it  - maybe that's why all forms of Intensive Animal Husbandry are (and always have been) prohibited in these zones.  Until now.  Hello pig, poultry and broiler farms (up to 400,000 birds), supplementary feeding, and pretty much any other intensive animal use except cattle feedlots and intensive dairy farms.  No restrictions in these zones - do what you like. 


Changes being made to definitions narrow what's "intensive" to just a few things, and then intensify what's left.  The current definition of grazing, 'Extensive Animal Husbandry' is about grazing - where farm animals get most of their food by grazing.  That's gone, replaced with 'Grazing Animal Production' where grazing is secondary to seasonal (6 months of the year), and routine, supplementary feeding.  Intensive.  That's why, unlike grazing, it's proposed to be prohibited in residential and commercial zones. 


This package of changes is pocked-marked with errors that make understanding what's being proposed more difficult.  Hey Houston, we have a problem:  the proposed zones say Pig Farms have to comply with Poultry Farm provisions, and Poultry Farms have to comply with Pig Farm conditions.  Even though current definitions, 'Extensive animal husbandry' and 'Intensive animal husbandry' are being deleted from the planning scheme - woooo - somehow they are still there in the Farming, Green Wedge, Rural Activity and Industrial 1 zones.  And in a 'take the cake' effort, in the Industrial 1 zone, intensive animal uses are both prohibited - and permit required - at the same time.  If anyone can work out what's going on in the Green Wedge Zone - what's in, what's out - give them a prize.  As for the new Particular Provisions for Pig and Poultry Farms, and Grazing Animal Production, only some segments of them are referenced in the zones as conditions to be met (mainly how to get a pig farm or poultry farm without a permit in the Farming Zone).  The new Particular Provision for Grazing Animal Production isn't referenced in the zones at all, so its requirements aren't  conditions to be met in any zone.  To be honest, it's a bit of a lottery trying to work out if, what, where and when any of these new particular provision controls might apply, and there's not much point having them, such as they are, unless they are actually used.


The big question for Macedon Ranges is, of course - how is this protecting Macedon Ranges?  Add this lot of changes to other recent State government changes, like VicSmart where a CEO can approve a house in a rural zone within 10 days, without anyone else knowing about it (including you and councillors) or meeting any planning scheme policy requirements, and lifting dwelling heights to 11 metres and 3 storeys in the General Residential Zone, and now, changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions - well, this isn't what we think of as protecting this place.  How about you?


ACTION REQUIRED:  Please make a short submission by November 14th (use the submissions link above).  Here's an overview of the changes

The government's thinking is these changes strike 'the right balance'.  Tell them they don't.  These changes don't respect, let alone protect, Macedon Ranges' environment, landscape and water catchments, residential amenity, or high quality agricultural soils, and they don't respect residents either because they are extinguishing residents' rights.  Tell the State government this is not protecting Macedon Ranges, and it's not on.  Make sure you let Macedon Ranges' councillors, Mary-Anne Thomas (MP for Macedon) and Richard Wynne (Minister for Planning) know your views.   .