Appendix 1

Introduction

In New South Wales, any beef feedlot with a capacity of 50 head or more must have consent from the appropriate authority, which is usually the local council. For leasehold land in the Western Division, this will be the Regional Director (Far West) of the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (DIPNR). Depending on the size and the sensitivity of the proposed site, there may need to be consultation with various other government agencies, particularly DIPNR and NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI). Where the capacity exceeds 1000 head, a Planning Focus Meeting (PFM) is necessary and a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required.

The purpose of this appendix is to outline for primary producers the necessary steps, first in deciding to establish a feedlot, and second in obtaining the necessary approvals.

An overview of the requirements for drainage systems — establishment of a controlled drainage area, capture and storage of runoff (effluent) — and for using effluent and manure, is provided in the National Guidelines for Beef Cattle Feedlots in Australia (second edition, 1997).

Additional detail, particularly regarding the requirements in New South Wales, is provided in the New South Wales Feedlot Manual . The Manual also has information about the requirements of the Environment Protection Authority’s pollution control legislation, particularly with reference to the development and operation of cattle feedlots in this state.

Step 1: The decision to establish a feedlot

This requires understanding and budgeting.

Understanding

Do you know what’s involved in obtaining approval and accreditation, and in feeding and marketing your end product? (If you’ve read all of the sections in Opportunity lotfeeding of beef cattle , you’ve made a good start, but read on.)

Financial planning

  • Will the feedlot be profitable?
  • How much capital is required?
  • Will the feedlot provide benefits to farm management through:
    • an alternative method of marketing home-grown grains and roughages?
    • adding value to your traditional end product?
    • reducing stocking pressure during dry periods?

Talk to your local NSW DPI Beef Cattle Adviser about:

  • potential profitability;
  • other alternatives, which may involve less capital outlay;
  • other marketing opportunities.

Step 2: Can it be done?

Having talked to your Beef Cattle Adviser, you still want to develop a small feedlot. Now you need to talk to your local council, and then to DIPNR.

(i) Local council

Talk to your local council (or DIPNR Western Region in the Western Division) to make sure that the feedlot is a permissible land use under current zoning.

(ii) DIPNR

Contact DIPNR in your area. They can advise you on the availability, quality and security of water, as well as on the site suitability, especially the hydrogeology aspects, which can be critical.

Contacts at the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources:

RegionLocationPhoneFax
Murray Deniliquin (03) 5881 2122 (03) 5881 3465
Murrumbidgee Wagga (02) 6923 0400 (02) 6923 0520
Far West Dubbo (02) 6883 3000 (02) 6883 3099
Central West Orange (02) 6393 4300 (02) 6361 3839
Barwon Tamworth (02) 6764 5900 (02) 6764 5982
Hunter Newcastle (02) 4929 4346 (02) 4929 6364
South Coast Wollongong (02) 4224 9600 (02) 4224 9650

DIPNR should be advised of the exact location of the proposed feedlot, so that the region’s hydrogeologist can check on departmental maps as to whether the proposed site is above any good-quality groundwater resource (aquifer). If there is a valuable resource beneath the proposed site, the hydrogeologist may deem it a sensitive site. This means that an appropriate independent soil specialist, either from DIPNR or elsewhere, should make a site-specific assessment of the site. This assessment is necessary to ascertain whether groundwater resources might become contaminated by feedlot effluent percolation, or whether there is an adequate depth of a suitable impervious material to protect the groundwater resource.

Soil samples may be required for testing by a recognised soil testing service. Any such samples should be collected by an appropriately qualified professional soil specialist, not by the proponent.

Step 3: The site

If responses are positive, arrange a site inspection. If possible, a NSW DPI Agricultural Environment Officer (AEO) or the local Beef Cattle Officer will inspect the site to determine the environmental suitability. They can give you a general overview and probably highlight any potential problems.

Discuss with them the need to arrange a site check to ensure there are no unacceptable residues of persistent chemicals.

NSW DPI Beef Cattle Officers are located at:

RegionLocation
Barwon Moree*, Glen Innes, Tamworth
Central West Forbes*, Mudgee, Trangie*
Hunter Maitland, Scone
Murrumbidgee / Murray Tumut, Albury, Wagga, Yanco*
North Coast Casino, Taree
Sydney / South Coast Goulburn

* The officers at these locations are the feedlot specialists.

NSW DPI’s Agricultural Environment Officers are located at:

AreaLocationTelephone
Head Office Orange (02) 6391 3642
North Coast Wollongbar (02) 6626 1200
North-West Gunnedah (02) 6741 8333
Central West Dubbo (02) 6881 1270
Far West Broken Hill (08) 8087 1222
South-West Yanco (02) 6951 2611
South-East Goulburn (02) 4828 6600
Sydney Windsor (02) 4577 0600
Hunter Central Coast Maitland (02) 4939 8888

Step 4: Planning Focus Meeting

Subject to the discussions of step 3, and depending on the site location and the proposed feedlot size, the next step may be a Planning Focus Meeting (PFM) to discuss the various state agencies’ and local government’s requirements, which need to be addressed in the Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE). Discuss with the Agricultural Environment Officer (AEO) whether a PFM should be held. If a PFM is required, decide with the AEO what information is required before the meeting. At the meeting, establish follow-up contacts to comment on the draft.

Step 5: Statement of Environmental Effects

Prepare the SEE and lodge it with the consent authority. It may be helpful to hold a meeting with the various agencies to review the draft, before revising it if necessary, then lodging it with Council.

Step 6: Public display of proposal

Council advertises and publicly displays the proposal for at least 14 days. Councils often display proposals for 28 days, or occasionally longer if the proposed development is contentious.

Step 7: Council decision

Council considers all comments and objections, and determines the application, unless a need has been established for more information. Council usually makes one of the following decisions:

  • application is approved as is;
  • application is approved, subject to written conditions;
  • decision is deferred, pending supply of further information from the applicant;
  • application is refused.

Step 8: Appeals process

Depending on the decision, the developer has normal appeal rights to the Land and Environment Court. Developers’ appeal rights are both to a refusal and to conditions of approval.

Objectors can appeal only on procedural grounds, not on the merits of the proposal.