Planning for sustainable animal industries
The impetus for animal industry planning reform
In 2015, the Victorian Government identified the need to update planning regulations to keep pace with rapid changes occurring across animal industries. These changes, dictated by new technologies, changing consumer preferences and growing global demand for our high-quality food and fibre products, have altered the way farms look and operate in Victoria.
The planning reforms recognise that the animal industries' projected high growth and innovation, while essential, must occur in a sustainable way to protect the long-term interests of all Victorians.
The importance of supporting Victoria's animal industries
Victoria's animal industries are significant contributors to the state's economy. They employ around 52,000 people in regional Victoria - on-farm and in processing. The sector contributes over 60 per cent (more than $8 billion) of Victoria's total value of agricultural production, and it's growing.
Victoria's animal industries are also prominent contributors nationally. Victoria is Australia's largest dairy producing and exporting state, contributing more than 60 per cent of Australia's milk and 80 per cent of Australia's dairy exports. The state also produces 43 per cent of Australia's sheep and lamb meat, and processed beef and sheep products account for about $3.1 billion of Victoria's food processing. The total value of pig, goat, poultry and eggs to the state's economy is about $1.3 billion.
Background to the planning reforms
At the start of the reform process, the Victorian Government appointed the Animal Industries Advisory Committee (AIAC) to consider how the planning system could support the growth of Animal Industries in Victoria. The AIAC's 2016 Final Report focused on the broad range of planning issues affecting Victoria's farmers, local government and community in recent years.
Read more about the Animal Industries Advisory Committee.
In response to the AIAC's Final Report, the Government released Planning for sustainable animal industries which outlines Government's strategic direction for land use planning for animal industries.
Read the Victorian Government's strategy to improve land use planning for animal industries:
PSAI implementation reference group
To deliver these reforms, the Government has established a reference group comprising key industry sectors, local government and community members. The reference group has had significant input to the planning reforms*.
Members of the PSAI implementation reference group
- Jenny Blake, Community Member
- Stuart Strachan, Community Member
- John Walsh, Community Member
- Margaret Lewis, Community Member
- TBC, Local Government Member
- TBC, Local Government Member
- David Gibb, Industry Member (Victorian Farmers Federation)
- Ron Paynter^, Industry Member (Dairy)
- Peter Wilkinson^, Industry Member (Beef)
- TBC, Industry Member (Pork)
- Allan Bullen, Industry Member (Chicken Meat)
* Note, the proposed reforms do not necessarily reflect the views of individual members of the IRG
^ pending approval
Through Planning for sustainable animal industries, the Government committed to four key focus areas and 12 actions to ensure the planning process would accommodate the future needs of changing communities and industries.
The 2018 planning reforms have completed several major actions – others are well underway. The table below sets out the Government's timeline for all Planning for sustainable animal industries actions.
Action 2. Establish an implementation reference group to facilitate continued improvement in planning for sustainable animal industries
Action 3. Introduce clear land use definitions for animal industries into the Victoria Planning Provisions
Action 4. Take a graduated approach to planning controls based on risk. (Note, opportunities to develop further risk-based planning controls will be explored through Action 8.)
Action 5. Provide planning and development assistance through Agribusiness Development Facilitation and interactive web-based development tools
Action 7. Remove the 1992 Piggeries Code as an incorporated document in the Victoria Planning Provisions
Action 10. Develop and make available short courses on sustainable animal industries
Action 12. Develop clear guidance to improve quality of planning permit applications, and develop model permit conditions to guide local government
Complete by late 2018
Action 6. Establish a panel of animal industry specialists to provide technical support to local government
Completed by early 2019
Action 1. Support local government strategic planning by improving access to regional growth and land suitability information
Action 9. Develop a more consistent approach to determining separation distances for various animal industries and production systems
Action 11. Enable clear identification of water catchment areas to assist planning decisions
Completed by June 2019
Action 5b. Provide interactive web-based farm planning tools for other animal industries
Action 8. Develop a new general Code of Practice for animal industries complemented by industry specific technical guidelines