The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) says the Victorian Government’s move to block the Fingerboards sand mine in East Gippsland is a win for local farmers and for rigorous processes designed to protect farmland.
VFF President Emma Germano said the decision by Planning Minister Richard Wynne to oppose Kalbar’s proposed sand mine at Glenaladale on the Mitchell River proved that special laws can help protect farmland from unsuitable development.
“The Government’s decision vindicates the VFF’s long term policy and advocacy work that helped to create the mining laws designed to protect farmland from inappropriate mining developments.”
“There was an enormous amount of effort and hard work done to ensure the Environmental Effects Statement for the Fingerboards mine included an assessment of the potential impacts on agriculture. This assessment formed the basis of the Government’s decision to reject the mine.”
Despite the success however, Ms Germano warned that processes for non-mining developments are not strong enough to protect prime agricultural land.
“We need to see protections for farmland in the laws that govern all other types of major developments such as renewable energy and transmission lines.”
“With many Environmental Effects Statements currently underway across the State, urgent action must be taken to ensure all impacts on agriculture are properly accounted for.”
“Our Managing Entry to Farm policy highlights the issues that must be addressed to ensure community uses on private land are fair to farmers.”
“The VFF is calling for agricultural industry representatives to be appointed to all technical reference groups to ensure there is real farm experience and expertise helping to monitor development proposals.”
“Victorian agriculture is the backbone of our regional economy and importantly provides the food needed to feed millions of people. We must ensure that long-term sustainable agriculture is not sacrificed for developments that have a limited lifespan,” Ms Germano concluded.