Planning permits for Victorian pig and poultry farms

All pig farms, and poultry farms with greater than 100 poultry (or 10 emus and/or ostriches) currently require a planning permit in the:

  • Farming Zone
  • Rural Activity Zone
  • Green Wedge Zone
  • Green Wedge A Zone
  • Rural Conservation Zone
  • Rural Living Zone.

For more information on permit requirements across zones in Victoria, download:

Changes for pig and poultry farms

The reforms introduced in 2018 included a fit-for-purpose planning assessment process for low risk farms. This included a simplified permit application process for small-scale pig and poultry farms that meet certain eligibility criteria.

Why a planning permit is required

The planning permit process is necessary because even small, free-range pig farms can have significant environmental and community amenity impacts if not sited and managed correctly.

The planning permit application process allows local government to consider whether the siting and size of a proposed farm, or an expansion of an existing farm, is compatible with the specific location.

The process allows potential environmental and amenity risks to be identified and mitigated through the siting, design and operation of the farm. It also provides proponents the opportunity to consider with council the ability of the land to accommodate future expansion.

Planning permit process for pig farms

All pig farms require a planning permit. The reforms introduced eligibility requirements for a simplified planning assessment process based on farms having low environmental and amenity risks.

The 2018 reforms were the first step in developing a graduated approach to planning controls based on risk. Opportunities to further simplify planning regulation for other scales of farming will be explored as part of the development of the general code of practice for animal industries.

Victorian Code for Broiler Farms 2009 (plus 2018 Amendments)

The Victorian Code for Broiler Farms (PDF - 4.8 MB) was developed to provide clear environmental standards for those wishing to establish new, or expand existing, broiler farms, and assurance for the surrounding landholders who may be impacted by broiler farming activities.

The 2018 amendments included:

  • new definition for broiler farm to include free-range chicken meat farms
  • a minimum farm size for which the Code applies (only applies to farms with more than 10,000 birds).

Conventional broiler farms converting to free range

The Victoria Planning Provisions allows an existing, lawfully established conventional broiler farm to convert to a free range system, provided that:

  • the number of chickens is not increased
  • there are no more than 150,000 chickens.

This permit exemption exists because:

  • most existing broiler farms have been established in line with a planning permit where the siting of the broiler sheds has been considered
  • there are no significant new amenity and environmental impacts introduced as a result of a conventional system's conversion to free-range.
Page last updated: 17 Feb 2023