Planning for sustainable animal industries
Victoria's animal industries are significant contributors to the Victorian economy. They are major employers in rural and regional Victoria and are Victoria's largest agricultural industry. Global population growth is driving the demand for Victoria's food and fibre products, which have an excellent reputation for quality, safety, and reliability.
Victoria's planning system plays a key role in supporting the projected growth of our animal industries. While economic development must be supported, growth must occur in a sustainable way to protect the long-term interests of all Victorians.
'Planning for sustainable animal industries' is the Victorian Government's response to the 2016 Animal Industries Advisory Committee's Final Report. It is a commitment to address the broad range of planning issues that have affected Victoria's farmers, local government and the community in recent years.
The response has four key areas of focus and 12 actions centered around more support and clarity for all those involved in animal industries in Victoria.
The key pillars of 'Planning for sustainable animal industries' are:
- Improve strategic planning for animal industries
- Clarify planning requirements and support early decision making
- Support the planning permit application assessment process
- Ensure timely and effective enforcement.
Public consultation on proposed reforms to planning controls for animal industries - spring 2017
The Victorian Government's proposed planning reforms will better support animal industries across the state. We are inviting public submissions to help shape the changes during a two month consultation period.
Click here to view the proposed reforms.
The proposed reforms will simplify planning requirements for animal based farming and will improve the consistency of how the rules are applied. The reforms aim to make the land use planning process clearer for farmers, councils and the community.
The reforms set out in the consultation document will deliver on the following PSAI actions:
· 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
· Action 12 – Develop clear guidance to improve the quality of planning permit applications, and develop model permit conditions to guide local government.
The public consultation period will close on 14 November 2017. To facilitate feedback during this period, several information sessions will be held across the state. Details for these events and the proposed reforms are available here.
Public information sessions - details to come
Public information sessions will be held throughout Victoria during October.
Register to receive details about the upcoming sessions by email: email@example.com
Public input as part of the consultation closes on 14 November 2017.
Timeline to deliver actions
The 12 actions can be divided into three categories:
- Immediate actions (0-6 months): these actions are relatively straightforward to implement and can proceed immediately, subject to targeted consultation.
- Medium-term actions (6-12 months): these actions are more complex to deliver and will involve broader consultation.
- Longer-term actions (12+ months): these actions are technically complex and require significant consultation.
All actions commenced October 2016.
Action 1: Support local government strategic planning by improving access to regional growth and land suitability information
Government is investigating ways to improve local government strategic planning for animal industries, including improved access to information that will facilitate decision making regarding agricultural land.
Action 2: Establish an implementation reference group to facilitate continued improvement in planning for sustainable animal industries
In April 2017, the Minister for Agriculture established the Planning for sustainable animal industries Implementation Reference Group (PSAI IRG). The group includes members from key industries, community, local and state government. The group has met twice, providing feedback on all actions and has contributed to the development of the draft land use definitions and graduated planning controls.
Action 3: Introduce clear land use definitions for animal industries into the Victoria Planning Provisions
Land use definitions have been drafted in consultation with the PSAI IRG. Graduated planning controls (Action 4) have been developed to accompany these new definitions.
Public consultation will occur simultaneously for Actions 3, 4 and 12
Action 4: Take a graduated approach to planning controls based on risk
The first tranche of graduated planning controls are have been drafted. Public consultation is proposed for early September 2017 and will occur simultaneously for Actions 3, 4 and 12.
A second tranche of graduated controls is proposed as a part of the Code of Practice (Action 8) and Separation Distance (Action 9) projects.
Action 5: Provide planning and development assistance through Agribusiness Development Facilitation (ADF) and interactive web-based development tools
The ADF website is live. Agriculture Victoria, Regional Development Victoria and Invest Assist have held six forums across the state to promote ADF. Potential investors can visit the website at http://www.rdv.vic.gov.au/investment-and-trade/agribusiness-facilitation
An online farm development tool is being tested with key stakeholders within the dairy industry. This tool will also be developed for other livestock industry.
ADF website complete
On-line development tool - In progress
Action 6: Establish a panel of animal industries specialists to provide technical advice to local government
Government is establishing a panel of animal industry experts to assist local government planners assess planning permit applications.
Action 7: Remove the 1992 Piggeries Code as an incorporated document in the Victoria Planning Provisions
Government will amend the Victoria Planning Provisions to remove the Code of Practice Piggeries (1992). A practice note has been developed in consultation with industry and local government. The note is an interim measure to replace the 1992 Code until the new general Code of Practice and industry specific technical guidelines are complete (Action 8).
Action 8: Develop a general Code of Practice for animal industries complemented by industry specific technical guidelines
A draft code of practice and industry specific technical guidelines have been developed with input from an industry technical reference group. A co-development phase involving collaboration with broader stakeholders has commenced.
Action 9: Develop a more consistent approach to determining separation distances for various intensive animal industries and production systems
Government has consulted with the PSAI IRG and a technical reference group to establish principles to assist in developing a new methodology for separation distances. Agriculture Victoria is collaborating with the Environment Protection Authority, who is also investigating separation distances for animal industries as part of Government's Response to the EPA Inquiry.
Action 10: Develop and make available short courses on sustainable animal industries
The first course on sustainable animal industries was held on 31 August 2017 through the Planning Institute of Australia's PLANET course program. 19 local government planners and consultants attended the course. Further education materials to support local government planners assess applications for animal industries will be prepared and made available online.
Action 11: Enable clear identification of water catchment areas to assist planning decisions
Relevant maps and GIS layers are available and this information is being promoted to local government and industry.
Action 12: Develop clear guidance to improve quality of planning permit applications, and develop model permit conditions to guide local government
Proposed application requirements and model permit conditions have been developed in consultation with the PSAI IRG. Public consultation will occur simultaneously for Actions 3, 4 and 12.
PSAI Implementation Reference Group
To deliver these reforms, government established a reference group comprising key industry sectors, local government and community members. The reference group has had significant input to the planning reforms. (see the committee members in Table 2).
Table 2: Members of the PSAI Implementation Reference Group
Jenny Blake, Community Member
Allan Bullen, Industry Member (Chicken Meat)
Michelle Croughan, Local Government Member
Ron Paynter, Industry Member (Dairy)
David Gibb, Industry Member (Victorian Farmers Federation)
Margaret Abbey, Local Government Member
Peter Wilkinson, Industry Member (Beef)
Margaret Lewis, Community Member
Janine Price, Industry Member (Pork)
Stuart Strachan, Community Member
John Walsh, Community Member