Pastured poultry farms across NSW face being put out of business by unfair and out-of- date legislation, being enforced by governments who consistently fail to acknowledge the needs and requirements of healthy, small farming businesses.
The legislation states that you need to apply for Designated Development Approval if you have more than 250,000 poultry, OR any number of poultry if you are in a water catchment area. This legislation, developed for large, commercial scale poultry farming, puts small scale poultry farmers with 100 chickens in the same basket as producers with 100,000 chickens.
This means councils are required to label poultry farms of any size as ‘intensive’. Penny Kothe and Paul McKinnon have been farming Sommerlad meat chickens, ducks and turkeys for over 4 years, so to be suddenly advised by Queanbeyan Palarang Regional Council that what they are doing is against the law, has come as a huge shock.
Penny Kothe, owner of Caroola Farm, said, ‘The council have been aware of our activities for a long time. We have always been transparent with them about our business, and having registered with the NSW Food Authority for poultry farming, had done all we were told.
“This legislative blow will be devastating for our business and threatens to send us bankrupt, because we just can’t afford to cut through the red tape that large commercial operations can.”
“If our Politicians say Australian small business is important, why do they continually favour big corporations, by developing and enforcing legislation they know, we as small business owners, can’t comply with?” Said Ms Kothe.
President of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA), Sally Ruljancich said, “Outdated planning legislation that favours the large-scale poultry industry sees the region one step closer to an entrenched industrial food system that threatens the existence of small producers. Small producers cannot justify the expense of such red tape. AFSA calls for clearer guidelines that are appropriate to scale”.
In 2016, AFSA formally constituted the Legal Defence Fund in response to the number of small-scale producers across Australia, seeking assistance in dealing with scale-inappropriate regulations and planning schemes.
To raise awareness and help fund the AFSA Legal Defence Fund a farm extravaganza with the world’s most famous farmer Joel Salatin, is being held on 26 February, 2017 at Jonai Farms, Eganstown Victoria.
Hosted by Garden Guru Costa Georgiadis, the event promises to inspire and educate producers and the local community alike, about the local food movement and the importance of small-scale regenerative farming in Australia.
Sally Ruljancich 0404 490 035
President, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
Tammi Jonas 0422 429 362