Broiler farm battle ends

Local residents who led a protracted legal battle against large-scale chicken broiler farms being built at Baringhup are celebrating this week after the long-running saga finally concluded with a VCAT ruling in recent days.
The VCAT ruling to cancel remaining permits and applications by the broiler farms’ proponent, Michael Vukadinovic and Pavilion Partners, now spells the final end to the saga that dates back to late 2012 when Pavilion Partners lodged an application with Mount Alexander Shire Council.
These final VCAT actions were part of a confidential settlement negotiated between the group of Baringhup farmers, known in legal documents as the Forbes Group, and Mr Vukadinovic, with consent of the local council.
“It’s finally all done and dusted,” Marg Lewis told the Midland Express on Friday.
Ms Lewis was among locals who had opposed the intensive broiler complex application, becoming involved in 2013 after the proposal drew hundreds of objections from residents concerned about the potential impacts of the farms and associated truck movements on the local landscape, which is recognised as being of ecological significance.
Ms Lewis on Friday also told the Midland Express that the properties that had been proposed for the broiler farms had recently been purchased by local farmers and were already being used for traditional cropping.
“Michelle Blackburn, VCAT member who was the judge appointed to our cases, has finally cleared the last legal hurdle by permitting the applications to be withdrawn,” Save the Moolort Plains member Cathy McCallum said.
“The applications have all been dismissed.
“The wait is over. We can now breathe and enjoy the Moolort Plains.
“Thank you everyone for your enduring support. We can now all enjoy the pleasures of the plains, the remarkable landscapes on either side of roads in the district, seasonal crops in their varying stages of growth, the remaining flora and fauna species including endangered legless lizards, spiny rice flower plants, the golden sun moth saved.
“Traditional farmers can use the volcanic soils to produce crops of excellence.
“The Mount Alexander Council can revitalise, restore and conserve the health of roadside vegetation and places of indigenous significance for future generations.
“Yes, we are planning a celebration. You guessed it – on the Moolort Plains.”

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