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Farmers urge consultation to protect right to farm

VICTORIA’S peak farmer organisation has vowed to make sure the State Government makes good on its promise to cut red tape across the agriculture sector and protect a primary producer’s right to farm.

The Victorian Farmers Federation is calling for a seat at the table before the Government makes any moves to shake up the State’s planning regulations following the Intensive Animal Advisory Committee report released today.  

“The planning system affects the whole farming sector, yet there is still much to be considered before implementing any recommendations in this report,” VFF President David Jochinke said.

“Primary producers are the foremost stakeholders of this process. It is vital that the main focus on amending the system is removing ambiguity and protecting a farmer’s right to farm”.

In responding to the report, the Government supported, either fully or in principle, 31 of the Committee’s 37 recommendations, including a permit requirement for all pig, egg and poultry production, and additional support for local councils in making planning decisions.

Mr Jochinke said the farmer group had concerns that some of the Committee’s recommendations could place unnecessary red tape on farm production.

“We need the Government to recognise that farming zones are, by nature, areas used for production purposes and we have concerns that the report’s recommendations could make the system more complicated,” he said.

“It is critical that people understand that this is the area designated to produce the food and fibre to meet the needs of a growing population.

Mr Jochinke said the VFF was concerned the Committee’s classification of intensive and extensive industries, based on energy consumption by livestock, was needlessly ambiguous.  

“We already have clear land use terms in place for industries – like pigs, eggs, chickens and feedlots – so there’s no need for these ambiguous definitions of intensive or extensive farming to continue,” he said.

“This is a prime example of where the Government can slash red tape to benefit the farming sector and we urge them to do so.”

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