The Time is NOW! PROTECT our Drinking Water Catchment and REJECT this Feedlot Development!

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The Glen Innes Community wants CHANGE… ACCOUNTABILITY and ACTION by Glen Innes Severn Council to Protect our Drinking Water. 

Stop the Jardana Pty Ltd Feedlot... DA 25/20-21 a 1000 head Intensive Cattle Feedlot at Stonehenge, proposed in 'Our' Drinking Water Catchment.

Council Must enact a Development Control Plan or Mapped Planning Control to PROTECT the Drinking Water Catchment from Hazardous Development.

Intensive Agriculture and Developments MUST BE PROHIBITED in the mapped Drinking Water Catchment. 

The TIME FOR ACTION is NOW!

The Number One beneficial use as Drinking Water is identified on the Drinking Water Catchment Maps in the Glen Innes Severn LEP 2012... it must be PROTECTED.

History....

On April 23rd 2020, Glen Innes Severn Council (Northern New England Tablelands NSW) approved the second application for this 1000 head Intensive Cattle Feedlot in the Towns Drinking Water Catchment. They received 255 objections from the community in 14 days... with many people unaware. This petition ensued as did a legal challenge by the community…. in September the Applicant Surrendered his Consent.

Soon after, on the 28th of October 2020 a Third such Development Application was lodged by the applicant.

This development is proposed to be located in the Towns Drinking Water Catchment and although the Department of Primary Industries advises an 800-metre buffer for cattle feedlots to potable water supply/catchments, this has not been adopted by our council (in spite of various representations to Council regarding re-zoning and an over-haul of the Council LEP, including protection of the community Drinking Water Catchment, this petition was one of those requests supported by over 2000 signatories).

To date we are more than two years on from the original application for this development (the 3rd DA is lodged with Council), we are 9 years on from the adoption of the Glen Innes Severn Council 2012 LEP and Council has still NOT Enacted a Catchment Management Plan... Council has failed to address these important matters.

Although this has been acknowledged by Council, there is still NO Water Catchment Management Plan in place to protect the Catchment for its Number 1 beneficial use for Drinking Water (Human Consumption).

What the community wants is intensive agriculture and Industry prohibited in the towns mapped drinking water catchment of both Glen Innes and Deepwater.

It is important to note that Intensive Agriculture is industrial agriculture and vastly different to that of Extensive Agriculture. Extensive Agriculture is what we know as grazing and cropping, which is currently practiced throughout the district and has been for nearly two centuries. Extensive Agriculture by Department of Primary industries guidelines forms part of the landscape and it is accepted and managed through (Best Management Practice). Conversely, intensive agriculture is advised to be 800 metres outside of potable water supply catchments, to mitigate any adverse impacts to ground and surface water supply.

The following are further areas of high concern as expressed by the community…

There is a very real risks of airborne disease associated with intensive feedlot production. Some of which are Q Fever, Anthrax, Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Dust allergy, Cryptosporidiosis- gastroenteritis’s, Ringworm dermatitis, E-coli infection, Giardia infection, Listeriosis to name a few.

The Valley of Stonehenge is a scenic splendour, known as the picturesque southern gateway to Glen Innes (Celtic Country). The amenity here is breathtaking, from rocky out crops and poplar drives, amazing autumnal displays of colour, sleepy foggy morns and postcard sunsets. This Development will be highly visible from surrounding homes, The New England Hwy and adjoining roads. In addition, there are 3 well known tourist sites in this locale; the Celtic Country roadside stop, which overlooks the valley. Stonehenge recreation reserve- an 80 acre recreational space with fields, playground, picnic area and magnificent granite rock formations, a photographer's delight and The Balancing Rock. These tourist sites are all in close proximity, with the feedlot site being visible from the Stonehenge Recreation Reserve.

The area of Stonehenge will forever be subject to the offensive nature of such a developmental should this go ahead and the dangerous bi-products of this development. This will be detrimental to Tourism and the Cultural Significance of this region.

The site of Stonehenge itself is culturally significant for the 'Ngoorabul' people, whom are the Traditional custodians of this land. The Stonehenge area is linked to sites of ceremonial and Special Cultural Significance to the 'Ngoorabul' people. There has been a lack of consultation with the Ngoorabul people throughout this process.

Beardy Waters has a rich ecosystem with many unique inhabitants... Species Impact Statements should be enacted for the Conservation of Biological Diversity. Beardy Waters are a Natural Habitat to many species including the iconic Platypus and several endangered species; the Bells Turtle, Murray cod and the Rakali. The Rakali 'Water rat' are unique, valuable creatures. Recently, it has been discovered they are the only native predator of the Cane Toad and they are found right here in Beardy Waters. Sadly, inevitable contamination of Beardy Waters will result in a detrimental outcome, where there will be Ecological Integrity Implications to this unique environment and the inhabitants within it.

Many farms make up the valley with several subdivisions located throughout. These are PEOPLE! A great majority can see the site, so they are certainly going to smell it, hear it and be adversely affected by-products associated with it. It is likely too, to have offensive implications as far as the township of Glen Innes and further, no doubt with a flow on effect to losses in property value and tourism and therefore, losses to the economy.

This enterprise will be an enormous BIO-HAZARD risk to the Biosecurity of other farming enterprises, the environment and homes within the vicinity. Most farmers in the district use sustainable farming practices (extensive agriculture) with respect to the land and each other as they have done since the area was settled in the 1830s. This is a highly fertile region at an altitude of 1067 meters it is valuable grazing country. 

Stonehenge is a high rainfall region and low evaporation zone, which is negated for feedlots, as it accelerates the disease risk to humans and creating poor condition for which the cattle are subjected to live in. The wet conditions increases the odour output exponentially (think cattle trucks and imagine the cattle  standing in excrement and effluent and the ponds of effluent that never dry out, imagine that odour anywhere in the vacinity and then think how far that odour will travel with any wind).

Feedlots are not recommended for zones with rainfall over 720mm per annum...Keeping this in mind, surrounding Stonehenge, the annual rainfall is as follows;.... Glen Innes- the average annual rainfall since 1996 is 864mm; Mount Mitchell- the average annual rainfall since 1964 is 1006mm; ….Ben Lomond- the average annual rainfall since 1959 is 1091mm.... all much greater than 720mm, how was this missed? 

The entire site will be utilised for this production; including infrastructure, effluent ponds, manure windrows, carcass composting and the spreading of by-product... that's a footprint of 530ha. Of grave concern is the applicant has claimed he intends to draw water from groundwater sources for this intensive enterprise, this will be taking groundwater for an industrial purpose.

Councillors have a duty of care to the community they represent!

Sign this petition to support the rejection of this development… 

In doing so we are requesting council enact the correct development control plans/mapped planning controls to protect the mapped drinking water catchments of Glen Innes and Deepwater by prohibiting intensive agriculture and Industry in the catchment and prioritising its number one beneficial use of Drinking water (Human Consumption).

NOW IS THE TIME!

If approved by Council as the consent authority, this intensive feedlot will pose significant risks and impacts including cumulative impacts to the community, the local Beardy Waters Catchment, groundwater, Public health and safety implications, vulnerable and threatened biodiversity and ecosystems and significant animal welfare considerations.

The Previous Development Application approved by Council resulted in a Legal Challenge by the Community 

The Development Application Documents can be accessed at the following link;

https://www.gisc.nsw.gov.au/building-and-development/advertised-development-applications

Following are areas of shared concerns throughout the community, related to this Development Application and the accompanying Statement of Environmental Effects...

Statement of Environmental Effects

Although large in quantity lacks substance and the required level of detail necessary in many critical areas (impacts/risks), not identified or adequately addressed. The Applicant has failed to identify, respond to, and address all risks and impacts and cumulative risks and impacts, and has failed to demonstrate how they would monitor, avoid, minimize, mitigate and manage these risks and impacts. These omissions will make it difficult for decision makers to assess the proposed development to the standards required in line with the applicable planning instruments, and community expectations. It is not sufficient for the Applicant to rely on assumptions and statements indicating they have various levels of ‘confidence’ with many of their non-evidenced control measures, and where many other potential risks and impacts are missing entirely. Such omissions prevent decision makers from undertaking a comprehensive, objective and meaningful development assessment, in line with the applicable planning instruments and community expectations.

Lack of Consultation

The Applicants DA highlights a noted lack of consultation with the Ngoorabul people who are identified as the cultural parties for the area, the immediate neighbours, the broader Glen Innes community, and other key stakeholders as required under various NSW planning instruments and council’s own integrated strategic and planning commitments. 

Bio Diversity and Ecosystem Implications

This development will threaten the health of native wildlife and biodiversity of the local ecosystem. Intensive animal factory farms pose significant negative environmental risks and impacts to our unique rural landscapes. Indeed, developments such as the proposed application have been an ongoing source of environmental damage and land use conflicts. Such instances have included toxic run off, soil, surface water and groundwater contamination, explosions and fires. Evidenced impacts on biodiversity frequently includes widespread animal displacement, loss of habitat, and the suffering and death of an increasing number of vulnerable, threatened and endangered wildlife. It is now estimated that around 3 billion animals were killed or displaced during Australia’s 2019/2020 bushfires. This tragic event has been described as the worst single event for wildlife in Australia, among the worst in the world, and is likely to push some species into extinction. Decision makers now have a clear responsibility to ensure we do not further contribute to this extinction trajectory.

The Precautionary Principle

The ‘precautionary principle’ must be applied in environmental planning decision-making with the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity being a fundamental consideration. The ‘precautionary principle’ requires decision-making to give the environment the benefit of the doubt. The proposed site topography and local historical weather patterns confirm that the proposed site is entirely unsuitable for a cattle feedlot.

Social and Economic Impact, Health & Wellbeing and Amenity

The risks and impacts to the local community, as well as the local Beardy Waters catchment, groundwater, threatened biodiversity and ecosystems are substantial. The proposed development will result in significant conflicts of land use, and amenity issues for immediate neighbours and will have a serious detrimental effect on their way of life and peaceful existence and physical and emotional health and wellbeing. The peaceful country life that community members value and seek is directly threatened by the development of intensive farming facilities that pose a risk to the environment, animal welfare, and the liveability of our rural Community.

Public Health and Safety

Globally, evidence confirms and experts agree that industrial, intensive farming - such as that proposed by the Applicant pose real and serious threats to public health and safety and the environment including natural resources and biodiversity. 

Water Contamination 

Unfortunately lack of governance on our Drinking water Catchment means the protection of our precious Beardy waters is at risk. The irrigation of effluent and compost poses a serious risk to groundwater security.

In addition, extreme weather events with heavy rainfall - which are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, would cause the property to be inundated with resulting runoff from the feedlot pens containing organic and mineralised manure constituents to result in a significant pollution event and ecological hazard. Even more concerning is the threat of an effluent holding pond spill as a result of high rainfall, which would cause catastrophic damage to the water system, death of aquatic animals and potentially impacts on human health. The risks and impacts are extreme based on the evidenced weather history and potential consequences.

Cattle farming, especially intensive farming in the form of feedlots, is extremely water intensive.The surrounding region and state has been drought declared for years, and we need to protect and preserve this precious resource for the benefit of all current and future generations.

The concentration, storage and dispersal of manure leads to high levels of local air and water pollution. In addition, runoff of nitrogen-rich manure into waterways can contribute to “dead zones”. Cattle feedlots generally also cause an imbalance of soil nutrients, particularly of nitrogen (N), increasing the N concentration in soil surface, which may eventually lead to water, air and soil contamination.

Waste and Pollution

There are significant concerns regarding the dispersal of the waste, storage, pollution and odour. This will undoubtedly attract vermin including flies, which will have an extremely negative impact on biodiversity and poses serious biosecurity risks. Poor waste containment and management practices can lead to outbreaks of disease.

Mortality Rates / Carcass Composting

In addition to the manure that will be produced, mortality rates are common with cattle feedlots, meaning large animals will be added to the compost ongoing. This will further exacerbate the presence of vermin, impact local biodiversity and pose additional biosecurity risks. The Applicant’s DA has not adequately responded to how they would address these risks and impacts.

Farming Practice Expectations

There has been a marked shift in public expectations about how we treat non-human animals including those raised for human consumption and by-products. The fate of industrially farmed animals is one of the most pressing moral, ethical and environmental dilemmas of our time. Tens of billions of sentient beings, each with complex sensations and emotions, live and die on a high volume, fast paced production line controlled by large and powerful agri-businesses. The Applicant has completely failed to address these considerations and changing government policy direction.

Feedlots involve cramped, fenced area where cattle are grain fed until they are ready for slaughter, unable to exercise and frequently found knee-deep in their own faeces. Often with no shelter. Living in these cramped, filthy conditions subject the cattle to stress and sickness, with common conditions including footrot, botulism, respiratory disease and liver abscesses.

Animal Welfare

RSPCA Australia as the leading ‘Animal Welfare’ authority oppose intensive animal agriculture for all the above inherent issues and conclude that “Intensive farming methods involve removing animals from their natural environments and keeping them housed or confined for all, or a large part, of their lives. They are raised in large numbers under controlled conditions, commonly involving use of hormones, antibiotics and vaccines” and, “the RSPCA opposes intensive farming practices that cause suffering or distress to animals, or that prevent the animal from moving freely and satisfying its behavioural, social or physiological needs.” Crowded, dirty and stressful conditions in which animals are kept necessitates the heavy use of antibiotics necessary to control disease and leads to antibiotic resistance, a now global issue for animals and humans alike. Ethical and moral considerations including cruelty to animals and public views and expectations about industrialised intensive animal agriculture are greatly heightened. Apart from facilitating private business, the proposed development offers no benefits to the local community.

Feedlot Waste Impacts

Waste can emit strong odours and pollute surface water and groundwater, because livestock produce prodigious amounts of faeces and urine. The risks and impacts to the environment and biodiversity are substantial including the depletion of precious and limited resources like water.

Rather than allowing damaging, intensive animal agriculture to flourish in the region, the Glen Innes Severn Council should instead look at encouraging and approving sustainable ventures that work in harmony with the environment and align with social expectations, council values and enrich the region, thereby improving the health and wellbeing of all current and future generations.

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