The Advisory Committee was appointed to provide advice to the Minister for Planning and Minister for Agriculture: … on how the planning system can support the establishment and expansion of productive, competitive and market‐responsive animal industries in Victoria, balancing environmental outcomes and community expectations. Specifically, the Committee is to provide advice and present findings and conclusions on: The role and function of the planning system in supporting the establishment and expansion of animal industries in the context of changing industry practice to increase production, be competitive and respond to market changes. The adequacy of the definition of ‘intensive animal husbandry’ in Clause 74 of the Victoria Planning Provisions1 and all planning schemes having regard to emerging farming systems and practices, incremental changes to existing operations over time and changing consumer preference.
The Committee believes that the planning controls over intensive animal industries have let down rural communities. They have let down producers and investors – those operators who wish to innovate or expand – and they have let down their neighbours. Well‐run intensive animal operations can fit comfortably in many rural areas, but poorly‐run, or poorly‐sited operations have caused significant environmental or amenity impacts. The current Farming Zone and other rural zone provisions do not adequately manage competing land uses in Victoria’s rural communities – in some instances farming operations are prioritised, and on other occasions dwellings. Out‐of‐date planning controls are hindering investment and innovation and do not always deliver appropriate outcomes for those affected. Whether a planning permit is required is often difficult to determine, especially where farms are transitioning from extensive to intensive operations. This has created uncertainty for industry, planners and the wider community. The Codes of Practice that are incorporated into the planning system are largely out of date and there are animal industries where there are no incorporated Codes of Practice. The Committee notes that the regulation of animal industries is complex, uncertain and does not adequately respond to, or support, changing animal industry practices or community expectations.