Labor’s regulations force farmers to get big or get out
20 November 2017
Small scale farmers will be forced out of business if the Andrews Government proceeds with its plans to drastically increase regulation.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan told Parliament this week that small producers were concerned that the changes to Victoria’s planning controls would make their businesses unviable.
Under the changes, small-scale pig and poultry farms will be subject to greater scrutiny and compliance costs than cattle feedlots.
“If these changes go ahead, low-risk, small-scale agriculture will be destroyed,” Ms Ryan said.
“We have fantastic small producers like Yapunyah Meadow Grazed Chickens and McIvor Farm Foods which sell directly to the public through farmers’ markets in our region.
“These businesses pride themselves on the sustainable management of their land, including moving animals frequently, mobile housing and feed infrastructure and the year round maintenance of pastures.”
Labor’s planning changes will:
- Treat pastured producers with 500 chickens the same as an intensive producer with half a million birds in a shed;
- Subject pastured pig producers with more than eight sows to the same regulations as an intensive producer with 800 sows in a shed;
- Allow an existing poultry farm to open a new range for up to 150 000 birds without any of the restrictions placed on a farmer with 500 birds.
- Make small-scale farming on less than 200 metres wide impossible by enforcing a 100-metre buffer zone from neighbouring dwellings on pastured poultry farms with up to 450 birds and pig farms with up to eight sows.
“Labor’s approach is heavy-handed and demonstrates the ignorance of a government that has eyes only for the city.
“Instead of making things clearer or easier for farmers, these changes will make meat production prohibitive not just for current farmers but also for anyone who aspires to take up small-scale farming,” Ms Ryan said.
“The changes ignore what sets small pastured poultry and pig farms apart from bigger farming operations.”