Please note: this is an archived news article release.
This article was published on 18 July 2012. The information contained within may be out of date or inaccurate. News articles and media releases older than 60 days are archived for future reference.
Rural land use changes for Greater Shepparton
Greater Shepparton City Council voted today to amend farm zones planning regulations to protect rural farming land from inappropriate development.
While the minimum lot size of subdivisions of farm zoned land will remain at 40 hectares, , owners who wish to build a residence will need to seek a planning permit when their lot size is below the new minimum of 60 hectares.
"This is not a prohibition," said Mayor Michael Polan. "What Council has done, in line with the Rural Land Use Strategy we've been engaged in since 2008, is to change the trigger point at which farm owners must seek planning permission before subdividing or building residences on farm zoned land."
"This region is the Foodbowl of Australia, and the land needs to be managed well," Cr Polan said. "Part of that means setting limits around when farm land can be subdivided or developed."
"So if a farmer has 60 hectares and wants to build a house, we're not putting a prohibition on that," Cr Polan said. "What we are saying is that they'll need to get a planning permit, so that we can take each application on its merits."
The Rural Land Use Strategy is designed to provide a consistent management of land uses across the region, to secure and promote agriculture into the future. The strategy is the result of cooperation between the Campaspe, Greater Shepparton and Moira municipalities, and takes into account rural land use and social, economic and environmental issues.
The recommendation of the strategy to limit subdivision of farming land is based on the understanding that subdivision of farming land for "hobby farms" can make the land less attractive to agribusiness investment because it reduces the scale of production that permits costs to be reduced.
Small scale subdivisions also have implications for water management, Cr Polan said.
"Agriculture provides the economic backbone for our region," he said. "We are hugely dependent on the revenue and jobs and investment opportunities that agriculture provides for us. We have Australia's greatest regional concentration of food processing industries and workforce.
"We can't take this for granted. The agricultural sector is under huge pressure, from the economy and from environmental challenges.
"Taking this approach will ensure that we are using our land to its best potential for the future of the region."
- Released 18 July 2012