I am writing in the hope that this letter will alert readers in the South Gippsland Shire of the disastrous impacts the proposed General Local Law 2014 (Amendment 1 of 2019) will have on a significant number of landholders.
Under the proposed amendments, landholders who are not in an area zoned as ‘Farming’ will need to obtain a permit and pay annual fees to keep animals.
From Rural Activity Zone to Residential, all these landholders will be treated the same.
While there will not be many residential properties with farm animals, the same cannot be said for those who live in the Rural Activity Zones.
Rural Activity Zones were created in 2014 and include many properties which were previously zoned ‘Farming’.
They consist of small properties mainly concentrated around the Kardella, Ruby, Loch, Mirboo North, Leongatha, Foster and Fish Creek areas. There would be hundreds of landholders in this zone.
Under the proposed changes, landholders will not be allowed to keep cattle, sheep, goats, horses, or the catchall, other agricultural animals, without a permit.
How much a permit will cost and what the council will use to determine whether to grant a permit or not is not disclosed.
The cost, both in terms of paperwork and money for landholders in the Rural Activity Zone, are high. Money will need to be paid annually in order to keep livestock.
It will not be the landholder who decides what livestock they wish to keep, rather it will be an undemocratically elected bureaucrat who may or may not have any farming knowledge at all.
The effects of this lack of certainty about what a landholder in the Rural Activity Zone can or cannot be allowed to farm will have a negative impact on property prices in the zone.
Who would want to buy a farm when there is no certainty about how the land can be used?
I urge anyone reading this letter and who owns a small property in the areas I mentioned above, to go to the South Gippsland Council website and find out if your property is in a Rural Activity Zone.
If it is and you don’t want to:
Lose the right to farm what animals you desire;
* Pay for an annual permit to keep animals;
* Fill in unnecessary paperwork and wait 60 days to find out what the council will allow you to farm; and
* See your farm’s value seriously eroded due to the uncertainty created by this proposed amendment; then I strongly urge you to write a submission to the council by 10 January.
The details are on the council website.
In your submission you may wish to point out to the council one or more of the following points:
* The negative impact on your property value;
* The extra cost, not only of the permit but also your time, for which you receive no benefit at all;
* The lack of consultation with those impacted by the changes; or
* The long-term future of this beautiful area will be compromised by over-regulation.
Thank you for your time in reading this letter and I ask everyone impacted to join me to stop this disastrous amendment from becoming law.
Lill Roberts, Kardella.