Some concerns about proposed broiler farm

CONCERNS about odour, waste and water usage were aired at a recent public meeting in Rosedale over a boiler farm proposal on the Rosedale-Heyfield Rd.

Wellington Shire Council officers are currently considering a planning permit application for the new broiler farm, which is on public notice.

A council spokesperson said that under standard process, the application would be assessed against the state government’s Code of Practice for Broiler Farms and would involve community engagement.

However, she said the council had not received any formal objections to date and any “issues of concern” raised following the public notice would be carefully considered before a decision was made.

The broiler farm applicant, Chicken Farms Australia, has a recent history of developing and operating chicken farms in the Gippsland region, and is involved with two separate 400,000 bird developments in Toongabbie as a joint venture with a local farming enterprise.

Currently the western edge of Wellington Shire in areas around Toongabbie, Glengarry and Rosedale house all the municipality’s chicken farms, existing and planned, cycling about three million chicken broilers every five to eight weeks.

It is understood another 60 sheds are planned, with a capacity of 50,000 birds for each shed.

A community representative for neighbouring residents and farmers opposed to the broiler farm said there were concerns about the management of litter waste, with waste expected to increase significantly as the chicken farms expand.

“The farm is sited on the right as you travel down the hill from Rosedale end,” she said.

“Prevailing winds to the south-east and houses in that direction that will be impacted.”

She said storing the litter waste on site could increase the impacts of odour, dust (including pathogens), vermin and flies to nearby dwellings.

The community representative said farmers were also worried that the new farm would need to access groundwater, and there was a possibility that this would affect neighbouring bores.

“If the broiler application is approved subject to a Section 173 Agreement, Chicken Farms Australia would be bound to the local planning authority (Wellington Shire) to ensure undertakings and stakeholder expectations are fulfilled for the duration of the farm’s use,” she said.

“But we believe the application is deficient on crucial information that should be put forward to assess first.”