Hopes Southern Downs 'intensive' animal idea will fly

A PROPOSED shake-up of "intensive animal industry" and "animal husbandry" definitions would give councils better flexibility when considering development applications.

The Southern Downs Regional Council will table the idea at the coming Local Government Association of Queensland conference.

Council representatives from across the state will converge on Gladstone from October 16-18 for the conference where this, and many other, ideas will be debated.  

If there is widespread support for the council's idea at the conference, the LGAQ will then advocate on behalf of all local governments at the state level.

Southern Downs Council planning and property portfolio spokesman, Cr Neil Meiklejohn, said local governments were forced to apply the same development standards to small animal husbandry endeavours as they do for intensive proposals.

FREE RANGE: Sunny Queen Farms have stated each free range chook has more space outside than a king-size bed.
FREE RANGE: Sunny Queen Farms have stated each free range chook has more space outside than a king-size bed. Contributed

For example, Cr Meiklejohn said a free-range farm with 3000 hens was recently treated the same as poultry facilities with hundreds of thousands of birds.

"Across the state people are doing free-range type egg operations and these type of low-intensity eco-style operations are caught up in the definition of a pad of 10 chicken sheds with 50,000 chooks in each shed," he said.

"We are saying that both things need to be assessed but assessing them under the same legislative process and the same application fees is not appropriate.

"We need to streamline the process for the smaller operations and we can do this by changing the definition of 'intensive'."

NewsRegional asked for the Queensland Government to comment specifically on this issue and others to be raised at the LGAQ conference, but it refused to do so.

Instead a government spokeswoman said: "The Palaszczuk Government has an excellent working relationship with local councils throughout Queensland and their representative body, the LGAQ."

"For instance, we worked with LGAQ to reinstate the Financial Aid program to benefit indigenous councils,"she said.

"I know our ministers meet regularly with the LGAQ and local councils.

"In regards to the motions being put forward at the LGAQ conference in October, we will look at each of the motions passed and work with the councils and community to see great outcomes for all Queenslanders regardless of their location.

"The Government does not want to pre-empt the LGAQ conference and the views of delegates on the motions."

 

Western Downs, Southern Downs, Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Logan, Ipswich and Gold Coast councils fully fund the rabbit fence because it enters or is close to their boundaries.
Western Downs, Southern Downs, Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Logan, Ipswich and Gold Coast councils fully fund the rabbit fence because it enters or is close to their boundaries. Rebecca Zanker

Hopping mad over rabbit fence costs

THE ongoing maintenance cost of the state's 555km rabbit barrier fence has local councils hopping mad.

Toowoomba Regional Council is leading the push for the State Government to pay half the cost of the fence that sets back eight councils, including ours, a combined $850,000 a year.  

The TRC will table the idea at the coming Local Government Association of Queensland conference.

Council representatives from across the state will converge on Gladstone from October 16-18 for the conference where this and many other ideas will be debated.  

If there is widespread support for the council's idea at the conference, the LGAQ will then advocate on behalf of all local governments at the state level.

Western Downs, Southern Downs, Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Logan, Ipswich and Gold Coast councils fully fund the rabbit fence because it enters or is close to their boundaries.

The state also has a 2500km wild dog fence and Balonne, Barcoo, Maranoa, Blackall Tambo, Bulloo, Western Downs, Murweh, Paroo and Quilpie councils pay for half of its costs with the state paying the other half.  

Toowoomba councillor Anne Glasheen is the chair of the Darling Downs Moreton Rabbit Board.

She said it was only fair the State Government provided an equitable solution for the rabbit fence.

"The Darling Downs Moreton Rabbit Board is seeking equity in funding arrangements for Queensland's two barrier fences," Cr Glasheen said.

"The DDMRB views the requested funding model as the fairest way for the members to maintain the fence and achieve their rabbit control objectives."

The Queensland Government refused to address the concerns raised by the council on this issue.

 

Cr Neil Meiklejohn says it is vital councils are involved in catchment planning for surface and underground water management.
Cr Neil Meiklejohn says it is vital councils are involved in catchment planning for surface and underground water management. Warwick Daily News

Water worry makes a splash at conference

SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council wants local governments to have more control over allocation of water resources across their districts.

The council also wants the State Government to consider abandoning river improvement trusts or to give councils the trusts' resources, because local governments are better placed to make decisions about local waterways.

The ideas will be raised at the Local Government Association Queensland conference.

SDRC planning and property portfolio spokesman, Cr Neil Meiklejohn, said it was vital that councils were involved in catchment planning for surface and underground water management.

Cr Meiklejohn said SDRC had to lobby the Queensland Government to let it have a say in the consultation process for regional operation plans relating to the Border Rivers and Moonee catchments.

"Council found it quite difficult to get engagement in the review despite being one of the bigger stakeholders," he said.

"We were almost forgotten in the process and we don't think that's good enough.

"We're basically saying that when the State Government formalises catchment planning for surface and underground water management, that local government should be formally at the table for those processes."

Meanwhile, the council wants the government to reassess the value of river trusts across the state.

Each trust is generally run by small boards who are legally required to prepare strategic plans but many trusts had not revised their plans in 10 years.

SDRC wants the State Government to compel the trusts to undertake strategic plans that can be resourced by local governments over the long term or assign their "functions and responsibilities" to a state agency.

"We are saying are the trusts still relevant?" Cr Meiklejohn said.

The Queensland Government refused to address the concerns raised by the council on this issue.

 

The Local Government Association of Queensland Conference is an opportunity for our local council to inspire state-wide change on issues important to our community.
The Local Government Association of Queensland Conference is an opportunity for our local council to inspire state-wide change on issues important to our community. Tony Martin

LGAQ CONCEPTS THAT WILL DIRECTLY IMPACT US

  • Southern Downs Council wants the State Government to legislate local government's involvement in catchment planning for surface and underground water management.
  • Southern Downs Council wants the State Government to review the turnover threshold levels for granting a property primary production status and gaining a valuation concession.
  • Southern Downs Council wants the State Government to review the definition for 'Intensive animal industry' under Planning Regulation 2017 to ensure the definition captures only those operations that are intensive in nature.
  • Southern Downs Council wants the State Government to consider either the abandonment of River Trusts or the reallocation of the resources currently committed to River Trusts being transferred to local government authorities.
  • Toowoomba Council wants the State Government to provide funding equity between the Wild Dog Check Fence and the Rabbit Barrier Fence by contributing 50% towards the cost of maintaining the rabbit fence.

- NewsRegional

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