The Victorian state government is moving to implement 37 recommendations from the Animal Industries Advisory Committee (AIAC).

The AIAC was created by the Andrews Government in 2015 to conduct a year-long review of the state’s planning processes. The purpose of the reforms is to provide greater clarity and consistency in Victoria’s planning regulatory system, with the government explicitly stating that the reforms would not increase red tape.

However, Victorian Farmers Federation President David Jochinke expressed concern at the proposal. Mr. Jochinke argued that the current system already regulated the effects of farming activity, such as sound, smell, water and soil quality, and that the reforms would create an “overlay of planning” which would increase red tape.

Mr. Jochinke stated:

“If you’re farming in a farm zone and complying with current standards you should be allowed to conduct business,”

“Our concern is (additional standards) will put more of a burden onto building production systems that shouldn’t be necessary.”

“We need the government to recognise that farming zones are, by nature, areas used for production purposes,”

One of the AIAC’s recommendations was the implementation of permits for all pig, poultry and egg operations, but Mr. Jochinke argued that this would be duplicative:

“We already have clear land-use terms in place for industries – like pigs, eggs, chickens, and feedlots… And there’s a seasonal effect (different farms) depending on peak times.”

As stated in the IPA’s submission on the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on the Regulation of Agriculture, Australian agriculture has become “weighed down by complex, unnecessary and overlapping red tape”, and the IPA calls on state and federal governments to eliminate duplicative and burdensome regulations to ensure that farming will be a strong, prosperous part of Australia’s future.

By Michael Husek