Beef producer set to relocate due to 'urban sprawl'

Beef producer set to relocate due to 'urban sprawl'

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FEELING THE SQUEEZE: Cannons Creek beef farmer Louise Brooks, with Clover the Kelpie, says farmers are moving further east due to encroaching housing estates.

FEELING THE SQUEEZE: Cannons Creek beef farmer Louise Brooks, with Clover the Kelpie, says farmers are moving further east due to encroaching housing estates.

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Louise Brooks says she wants to escape the "urban sprawl" in Melbourne's south-east.

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A Cannons Creek beef producer on the outskirts of Melbourne's south-east fears for the future of farming in the region as the urban sprawl creeps further east.

Louise Brooks, who runs about 100 head of Angus/Friesian and Hereford/Friesian heifers, has made the decision to leave her property of 25 years due to "urbanisation and a lack of a community feel".

Ms Brooks' 90-hectare property is located 15 kilometres south-east of Cranbourne in the City of Casey near Rutherford Inlet, an estuary off Western Port Bay.

She has lived in the Cannons Creek/Pearcedale area since 1983 and said the region north of her had moved its focus from primary production with the uptake of lifestyle properties and urban developments.

"There's not that feeling of community around here anymore," she said.

"Good farming land, market garden country between Berwick and here, is being lost to development.

"It's wicked they're going to utilise that for houses."

According to data from the City of Casey - one of the fastest growing region's in Australia - on average 97 families move into the municipality each week while population is predicted grow by 54 per cent to 549,000 residents by 2041.

About 12 months ago, Ms Brooks and her partner purchased another property at Inverloch where she plans to relocate but said the decision to leave her property at Cannons Creek was bittersweet.

"The rates of course have risen a bit but that's not my major worry," she said.

"The worry to me is travelling north here up to Berwick, that is the extreme change and we've seen so much development, traffic lights, round-a-bouts and cars on the road .... and I just want to slow down and escape the urban sprawl.

"We bought the property at Inverloch with the idea not to move there originally but we've enjoyed everything about it, the position and the location and importantly that feeling you belong to the community."

Under the City of Casey's Western Port Green Wedge Management Plan, places like Blind Bight, Pearcedale and Cannons Creek are protected from large-scale residential developments, with those areas to remain a permanent green and rural area for agriculture and lifestyle properties.

"Its agricultural industry will be strengthened, and it will become a truly innovative and productive farming district for the long-term food security of Victoria," the report read.

However, Ms Brooks fears more prime agricultural land will be lost to lifestyle properties in the coming years.

"Farmers are moving on and it's also quite unique to have a beef property of this size," she said.

"It's becoming more known for horse and lifestyle places and boats because we have Warneet right on our doorstep so the area is shifting away from traditional farming."

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