Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the proposed new Planning for Sustainable Animal Industries laws aimed to streamline application processes for small-scale producers.
“It’s disappointing to see some groups promulgate misinformation about the proposed changes that are about cutting red tape, not increasing it,” Ms Pulford said.
“Whether people like it or not, all pig and poultry farmers are currently required to obtain planning permits, because most of the feed is imported.”
Small producers have reacted with dismay to what they said was the substance of the proposals.
Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) president Tammi Jonas, a small pig and cattle producer near Ballarat, said she was deeply disappointed at substance of the proposed new planning provisions.
“Despite our efforts to assist Agriculture Victoria and the relevant ministers in understanding the practical realities of small-scale livestock farmers,” Ms Jonas said.
“The draft graduated controls don’t appear to reduce red tape for small-scale commercial farmers, nor homesteaders or hobbyists, and yet they make it easier than ever before to set up a 1000-cattle feedlot.
“It’s completely bizarre.”
Trentham’s Milking Yard Farm’s Bruce Burton, who grows meat chickens, said the proposed regulations appeared to encourage intensive poultry farming, while making it harder for smaller operators.
“It means that small farmers will yet again have to wade through huge amounts of red-tape - just the same as large-scale intensive farms,” Mr Burton said.
But Ms Pulford said the proposed reforms would remove the requirement to obtain a planning permit, or provide for a streamlined application process for small producers.
The planning reforms aimed to improve the consistency of how the rules were applied.