Yo You’s Kernot application denied

Bass Coast Shire Council denied a planning application for a cattle barn and milk processing plant at Kernot at tonight’s Council meeting.

In refusing Yo You Dairy’s proposal, Council stated that the development did not sit comfortably within the natural landscape of the area.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said Council considered the size of the proposed cattle barn and milk processing plant in its decision.

“We believe that the proposed development is incompatible with its surrounds and would negatively impact on the Kernot Township,” Cr Brown said.

Council also felt that application, which requested that 1,000 head of cattle be kept on the land, was an over-intensification of the lands capabilities.

“The application was considered to have not demonstrated that the proposed cattle numbers would fall within the definition of extensive animal farming; where the animals feed must mainly be grown on the land,” Cr Brown said.

Council also believed the application failed to address the management of stormwater, with particular concern raised in regards to effluent run off impacting the Bass River system.

Furthermore, the location of manure and compost storage areas was considered to be too near to the residential properties which surround the site.

Cr Brown said Council considered the advice of the planning department, but also took into account the broader concerns of the community.

The Mayor, however, also made it clear that issues of foreign ownership and animal welfare were not factors in Council’s decision.

“Council considered the proposal would adversely impact the local community,” Cr Brown said.

“Foreign ownership is governed by the Federal Government, and animal welfare legislation is governed by the Victorian Government.”

Leadbeater Ward Councillor, Clare Le Serve, who moved the adopted motion, said the application was inconsistent with the Protection of Agriculture Land and Sustainable Agriculture, in particular the proximity of the free stall barn to the community amenity and residents.

“As Council, we have to weigh up all the information and consider all the objections, and we also need to take into consideration that this is a large investment to the Shire,” Cr Le Serve said.

“The Dairy Industry needs innovation, growth and technology that will support and see the sector into a competitive position into the future. The Agriculture Sector embraces National and International markets as a part of the free trade agreements and sees the importance’s of this to the country’s economy.

“But as Council we must get the planning right, understand the environmental impacts and work with the sector to better outcomes for all.”

Council does not yet know whether the applicant will ask Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to review the decision. The applicant has 60 days to appeal the decision.

At the meeting, Council also moved a subsequent motion to note the work being undertaken to fill the policy and strategy gaps that relate to intensive farming.

“Council will write to the Minister for Regional Development to request engagement on this issue, particularly the Victorian Government’s Food and Fibre Discussion paper,” Cr Brown said.

“The Discussion paper identifies that there is work to be done in relation to sustainable intensification, such as balancing competing land uses, environmental protection regulation, animal welfare and, importantly, community engagement.”