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Toongabbie residents, farmers take broiler farm to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

August 27, 2015
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Balancing the rights of those living in a rural areas with those proposing new agricultural ventures is a big issue in Victoria.

Residents and farmers from Toongabbie, in central Gippsland, are objecting to a council decision that would allow broiler farms to be built in the area.

This intensive farming venture is one of a number of Victorian projects being delayed by planning disputes.

Toongabbie residents and farmers have officially lodged an application for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review a decision to grant broiler farms a planning permit.

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Wellington Shire Council decided two broiler farms at Toongabbie were appropriate for the area, but it issued 50 conditions, including limiting the bird capacity at one of the farms.

Objector Tracey Anton said about 40 residents were working together on the appeal.

“Initially it’s the odour that the neighbours will be impacted by,” she said.

“The fact that it’s free range [is also a concern]. The [broiler] code does not cover that.”

The planning permit allowed for broiler farms to be established to house 720,000 birds. The conditions council placed on the permit included upgrading two road intersections, moving the location of sheds to be further away from houses and reducing the capacity of one of the farms.

“While council said they [the conditions] were strict, they are actually just standard,” Ms Anton said.

“We knew that the upgrade to the intersection had to occur. They’re not upgrading the road at all, and, as for the ongoing maintenance, we believe the applicant got off lightly.”

The applicant behind the project, Daniel Johnson, said in a statement that he was happy with the conditions Wellington Shire Council had placed on the project going ahead.

Mr Johnson said while he was disappointed the project was going to VCAT, he understood objectors had a right to voice their concerns.

He said he had done everything he could to ensure the farm met the Victorian Code for Broiler Farms and hoped it could go ahead.

Published by the ABC, 25/08/2015