Planning for sustainable animal industries in Victoria

In 2015, the Victorian Government identified the need to update planning regulations to keep pace with rapid changes occurring across animal industries that have altered the way farms look and operate in Victoria. These changes have been dictated by:

  • new technologies
  • changing consumer preferences
  • growing global demand for our high-quality food and fibre products.

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.

Agriculture Victoria Planning and Advisory Service

In December 2021, the Victorian Government announced the Agriculture Victoria Planning and Advisory Service. The Advisory Service provides agricultural planning advice across all agricultural sectors including but not limited to dairy, pigs and poultry, cattle, sheep, goats, horticulture and grains.

Further information can be found on the on the Agriculture Victoria Planning and Advisory Service web page.

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 that affect Victoria's farmers, local government and community in recent years.

In response to the AIAC's report, the Victorian Government released a report that outlines its strategic direction for land use planning for animal industries.

Download the Victorian Government's strategy:

PSAI implementation reference group

To deliver these reforms, the government has established a reference group comprising key industry representatives from the chicken meat, dairy, beef and pork industries, local government and community members. The reference group has had significant input to the planning reforms.

Disclaimer: the proposed reforms do not necessarily reflect the views of individual members of the IRG.

Further reform

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 following lists set out the Government's timeline for all actions. Many of the reforms have now been completed.

Completed reforms

  • Action 1 — Support local government strategic planning by improving access to regional growth and land suitability information
  • 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 11 — Enable clear identification of water catchment areas to assist planning decisions
  • Action 12 — Develop clear guidance to improve quality of planning permit applications, and develop model permit conditions to guide local government.

Complete by 2023

  • Action 8 — Develop a new general Code of Practice for animal industries complemented by industry specific technical guidelines
  • Action 9 — Develop a more consistent approach to determining separation distances for various animal industries and production systems.
Page last updated: 10 Mar 2022