Important Background, RAIDE versus Beaudesert Shire Council, 2007

IT’S CLEAR FROM THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION, ORIGINALLY POSTED ONLINE BY RAIDE, A GROUP THAT WAS ACTIVE IN THE FIGHT TO REGULATE INTENSIVE AGRICULTURE/PROTECTED HORTICULTURE IN THE BEAUDESERT SHIRE, THAT SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS WAS MADE IN 2007.  AT THAT TIME BEAUDESERT SHIRE COUNCIL DECIDED NOT TO APPROVE ANY FURTHER INTENSIVE HORTICULTURE FARMS, AND, GOING EVEN FURTHER, TO STOP EVEN THE OPEN FARMS, FROM OPERATING IN THE SHIRE. THIS WAS IN RESPONSE TO A HUGE VOLUME OF RESIDENT COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE PRACTICES OF THESE INDUSTRIES IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS. BCC RECOGNISED THAT THESE ‘FARMS’ ARE A THREAT TO RESIDENTS’ HEALTH AND SAFETY AND SOUGHT TO ACT ACCORDINGLY.  HAD THE BLIGH STATE GOVERNMENT NOT FORCED AMALGAMATION UPON US, THIS PROBLEM WOULD NOW BE ANCIENT HISTORY. INSTEAD, WE ARE STILL, IN 2012, FIGHTING TO MAKE LOGAN CITY COUNCIL REIN IN THESE DANGEROUS PRACTICES IN OUR RESIDENTIAL ESTATES.   2012 MARKS EIGHT LONG YEARS OF RESIDENTS TRYING TO MAKE TWO SUCCESSIVE COUNCILS LISTEN TO OUR CONCERNS AND ACT IN OUR INTERESTS.  HOW MUCH LONGER DO WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO ACT IN OUR INTERESTS AND SHUT DOWN THESE DANGEROUS INDUSTRIES LOCATED RIGHT NEXT TO OUR HOMES?

(WE DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHO THE RAIDE MEMBER IS WHO POSTED THIS INFORMATION SEVERAL YEARS AGO ON A PUBLIC FORUM, BUT IT HAS PROVIDED VALUABLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL FOR THEIR EFFORTS. WHOEVER YOU ARE, THANK YOU!)

Residents Action on Infrastructure, Development and Environment
RAIDE is a Group for residents of the ‘Mount Lindsay North Beaudesert Study Area ‘ who have reason to doubt the validity of community consultation as described by the State Government’s OUM and the Beaudesert Shire Council. RAIDE is a community voice .

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:07 am    Post subject: Chemical use in Protected Horticulture


The idea purported by the industry is that quality of produce is much higher than that from traditional market garden and Farming methods and that there is a reduction in what chemicals are used, the frequency of application and the amount.

This is not the reality and in some cases workers can be seen inside Protected Horticulture structures wearing two part respirators whilst working on either plant maintenance or crop picking.

There are recorded instances of migrant, non-English-speaking families being treated at local doctors surgeries for respiratory complaints, eye problems, rashes and open sores, they also present with diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal cramping. ( I can’t give case information due to privacy )

The neighbouring community also suffers from similar problems with their health and have been urged to have their drinking water tested for chemical contaminants due to the majority of them utilising roof water run off collection for drinking water purposes.

All of these problems are typical of inappropriate contact with chemicals used in agriculture or unsafe handling and use, and, reflect a limited, or no, understanding of MSDS and procedures for application and use. It is also probable that storage problems are going to be found.

The main offenders, in the chemical realm, for these kinds of side effects occurring are:

1) Inorganic Compound residues;
Arsenic, Cadmium, Copper, Lead, Mercury and Zinc.

2) Synthetic Pyrethroids ;
Alphamethrin, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Esfenvalerate, Fenvalerate and Permethrin

3) Carbamates and Dithiocarbamates ;
Carbofuran, Methiocarb, Methomyl, Thiram, Zineb and Ziram.

4) Organochlorines ;
BHC, Chlordane, DDT, Dieldrin , Endosulfan, Endrin, Heptachlor(and its epoxides), Lindane.

5) Organo-Phosphates:
Azinphos ethyl, Azinphos methyl, Chlorpyrifos, Demeton-s-methyl, Diazinon, Dichlorvos, Dimethoate, Fenamiphos, Fenthion, Fenitrothion, Maldison, Methamidophos, Methidathion, Mevinphos, Monocrotophos, Omethoate, Profenofos and Temephos.

Herbicides such as 2,4-D ,Glyphosate etc haven’t been included in this list because of thier rapid breakdown time and lack of residual evidence or harm to humans in general use, because they are applied directly.

All the chemicals used are for a particular purpose whether it be as a pre-emergent, fertilizer, pesticide, fungicide and soil conditioners.

Of all the chemicals, the fungicides are, in all probability, the most concerning for their impact on both human health and the environment, in fact most of them are extremely dangerous, if not lethal, to aquatic environs due to the siting of the majority of Ph operations being on or near river flats and wetlands.

Human health issues are beginning to become more in number and severity where we live adjacent to PH operations ,and the effects are noticeable within a very short period of time .

Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:30 am    Post subject: A Letter to our Representatives,(from a local resident) i


A local resident has been trying to enlighten both the general community and both local Councillors and staff and the representatives of State Government with information and also asking for regulation and control of Tree clearing and the PH ( Protected Horticulture) industry.

Dear Sir,

I’m writing on behalf of the Community Group RAIDE ( Residents Action on Infrastructure, Development and Environment), and the wider general community after approaches by residents on the subject of regulating the Protected Horticulture (PH) industry in the Beaudesert Shire and the possibility of the PH industry being included in the WoSPP.

Approaches were made to myself and to Council recently which prompted me also to contact Cr. Bob Bricknell, regarding tree clearing at a property in the Beaudesert Shire’s north at 76/92 Koplick Road, Chambers Flat for the purpose of constructing aproximately 30 acres of PH industry and the remainder in open type Market Gardens. This property has been used pastorally for many years and the previos owner could be regularly seen clearing the smaller trees and in particular keeping fencelines clear for maintenance purposes and to avoid the possibility of stock loss. The tree clearing which occurred recently was an abomination and even though reports to Council were too late to stop the work before all the trees on the @ 30 acres at the rear had been removed we appreciate both Bobs and the Council officers involvement.

I would like to avail you of some light reading information about PH and the issues the industry creates since there have been problems in other areas in southern states, and which have led to eventually those States or Councils regulating the industry.

Potential for issues to arise from the increase in PH structures is exponential and mostly they come from the positioning on land in rural residential areas. The claim from those participating in the industry that they need to be close to Markets, Transport Routes and Labour Sources and that since the return per hectare is vastly increased to traditional farming methods the PH opperations can profit on smaller sized lots.

Those participating in the industry also regularly complain that there is a lack of understanding by the public in general and that the majority of issues focus on the ‘ Aesthetics’ of PH and that it is subjective.

The combination of PH with rural residential and mainly lesser developed small acreage holdings up to 20 hectares will increase the likelyhood of either percieved or actual impacts on the amenity, lifestyle and property values of neighbouring and in particular adjacent properties. Unfortunately that is only a small part of the problem with the rapidly expanding PH industry.

Some of the more important issues which those in the industry either fail to acknowledge, or fail to pass on the prospective operators (growers), or are simply ignored by those growers because of cost cutting, time constraints or budget, are listed ;

a) Land clearing /tree removal, habitat destruction

b) siting issues, siting in sensitive areas

c) Water management

d) management of solid wastes

e) management of liquid wastes

f ) Horticultural control products, including fungicides and pesticides,

g) Drift and swirling of sprayed substances

h) intrusive practices ; including odour, noise, dust, lights, pests, vermin, sunlight reflection/glare

i ) Maintenance issues and ageing of the structures

j ) inherent problems with plastic products

k) mould and mildew spores ( allergies )

l ) visual pollution

m) Fire risks; toxins, the risk to workers and neighbours, fire safety procedures.

There is also the issue of chemical use, the preparation areas, the types of chemicals, relevant MSDS, correct storage, flammability and combustibility and the appropriate timing of application.

Protected Horticulture

The ‘Greenhouse’ provides growers with the potential to modify the environment in which plants are grown to achieve a more desirable growing situation during the plants cycle required. The things most likely to be modified are Light, Temperature, Humidity, Water and Air Flow; an example , flowers, may require 18 hour lighted periods during flowering, even in winter; the temperature may need increasing , and the red colours in the light spectrum could be enhanced etc.

The preferred method of construction is to use Galvanised tube frames with plastic film or netting, with the most common forms of the film being ;

polythene ( polyethylene )

E.V.A ( ethyl vinyl acetate )

PVC ( poly vinyl chloride)

There are also many additives which can be added to plastic film in its production that can increase strength, durability, reduce droplet formation, resist dust sticking, repel insects and also reduce heat loss and the transmission of certain wavelengths of light penetration. Colour pigments may be another addition to improve plant growth, Fluorescence may increase red spectrums of light or simply having a highly glossed surface may repel insects. There is also the possibility to apply film made from multilayering several more desired additive enhanced films together in a composite film.

The disposal of the plastic after is has been used and is no longer able to perform its task is a major problem for the industry and many operators have in the past piled the unusable film in a disused part of their property or burnt it, releasing untold toxic chemicals in the local environment.

IMPACTS OF PH

Leeching; Sunlight is one of the biggest factors in the breakdown of horticultural products along with water to disperse them and that presents the first problem with PH, no direct sunlight onto the soil beneath and the gradual build up of horticultural products and the eventual leeching into the surrounding environment. This is a particularly large problem where PH operations are sited adjacent to waterways as they often are. Careful management of horticultural product use and consistent testing are of paramount importance to ensure substances do not go beyond the PH operation boundary.

Wastes: There are several types of waste produced in the operation of PH industries from packaging, pruning, imperfect product, exhausted growing media (some of which is inorganic) and the twine used to support plants during their growing cycle. The management of each different type of waste should be considered properly, but unfortunately in many cases in the past all waste would be piled up somewhere on the property out of the way and ignored, causing problems with odour, pests and vermin.

Horticultural Controls; This is a general term applied to Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides and Fertilizers. The management of all these things is important to provide the optimum growing conditions and produce the kinds of yields that make small scale PH operations work. This is probably the most serious business in the industry as it has the capacity to impact , ultimately , on the environment and the community in various ways with the potential for fatality to occur. In the past, streams have been made fish less, the ground rendered infertile, algal and fungal growths have become uncontrollable in waterways and people have been poisoned from uneducated or misuse of horticultural products. I can’t stress the importance of following correct procedure enough with the storage and use of these products. Independent tests and regular reporting should become mandatory in and around PH operations.

MSDS; An often overlooked part of farm practise in the past was the keeping and reading of MSDS for each product kept or used on a farm. From the fuel storage area and chemical storage to equipment and machinery, every one should have its maintenance kept up appropriately and its MSDS available. Material Safety Data Sheets are essential for not just safe use but to give knowledge of safety procedures in case of accidents , the type of measures needed to right it and care properly for affected workers or the public.

Since the community is generally not concerned about something until it affects them directly, and it is happening at an increasingly rapid rate, it could be advantageous to become pro-active and put forward some firm guidelines for perspective PH operators who wish to enter the industry so that they can make informed decisions about where to site their operation.

One of the things desirable to the community would be that, before construction of PH structures, they be subject to the development application process and , obtain approval in the normal manner before construction work begins. Technical information should be acquired about the siting which should include Geotechnical advice, design, construction, environmental performance and maintenance.

Legislation would be desirable to help with community concerns about the complaints process and provide Councils with an avenue for enforcement and inspection procedures. Environmental issues and breaches could be dealt with at Local Government level with the framework in place to proceed to further action or even the Courts to settle disputes.

The Beaudesert Shire Council may wish to consider making this a part of their WoSPP and include it in regional plans and consider that in some cases PH is more about Property speculation and Tax minimisation than agribusiness. Councils may also wish to make provisions for regular reviews of policy on PH due to the rapid expansion and popularity of it in the Beaudesert area, a suggested review period might be at three(3) year intervals.

The preferred method for operators considering PH as a commercial venture in the Beaudesert Shire would be streamlined and easy to understand and could follow four simple steps;

1) Contact Local Government to identify areas suitable for siting PH

2) Make a Development Application

3) Provide Council with Technical information on siting and impact assessment.

4) Make an application for construction approval.

The process of the development of a site for PH is probably the most important part in setting up this type of intensive horticulture, in particular the development application. PH could be considered in the same vein as poultry production. The reason for this is that PH is a change of use from rural residential to intensive production or even light commercial industry and it’s important then that they are situated in areas that are zones appropriately. Development Applications should not be able to be lodged where the preferred land use of an area doesn’t permit its existence. Similarly siting positions where impacts on the environment are considered untenable should not be permitted and positions where environmental issues are of some concern should only be granted with the provision of supporting documentation about management systems to be put in place to control fertalizer and other horticultural controls within the site boundary.

Even existing PH operations should come under the regulations, in particular if they plan to extend , increase the size of their operation or move it to another location on the property. In these eventualities a development application should be lodged and the process followed. The normal procedures would apply with the displaying of the application and informing neighbours; there would be a 28 day objection period and the applicant would have the right of appeal.

Regulation is needed urgently in Beaudesert before the expansion of Protected Horticulture gets well out of hand and the repercussions on the people and the environment in this Shire are irreversibly compromised.

Regards

RAIDE

Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:05 am    Post subject: HCC ; Horticulture Code of Conduct


Horticulture Code fails to meet objectives

Thursday 13 March 2008

The Committee tasked with advising the Federal Government over the effectiveness of the Horticulture Code of Conduct (HCC) has hinted that significant parts be reworded and amended to maintain the Codes’ effectiveness and integrity.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s inquiry into grocery prices has asked for input into the effectiveness of the HCC and whether its role should be expanded to include retailers.

The majority of stakeholders who commented on the Code have said the Code is failing to work effectively, with some pointing the finger at the ACCC’s lack of enforcement and a general lack of understanding.

In its submission, the Horticulture Code Committee – appointed by the previous federal government to advise on the Code’s operation – has found serious cracks in the effectiveness of the code.

This extends from a general ‘lack of knowledge of the code’ to blatant disregard for the mandatory rules.

The Committee says there is a ‘considerable’ level of anecdotal and contradictory evidence about the Code and its use.

“If the code is to be effective it should offer workable options for relationships between growers and wholesalers,” it argues in the submission.

“The inquiry may wish to further consider whether the current wording of the code does provide for realistic options for trade”

It also argued that the Horticulture Mediation Advisor (HMA) appears to have a ‘very low level’ of awareness among parties and is therefore failing to meet a main objective of the code: to provide a fair and equitable dispute resolution procedure’.

The HCC recommends a number of options for amending the code, including consideration of price averaging.

This includes price averaging, which was dismissed as an option in the Code’s initial consultation, however ‘since the code commenced a number of grower organisations and pack houses have requested that the issue of price averaging be revisited’.

Both parties must agree to a price at the point of sale, however rapid and unforeseen price fluctuations can make this practice inequitable.

The Committee says an amendment to allow price pooling and averaging under tight conditions may encourage growers and traders to comply with the code while the reporting requirements ensure transparency.

Compliance issues were also raised by the HCC in regard to the lower value grower to grower trades.

Anecdotal evidence, the committee found, shows these transactions continue to occur without written agreements.

While the Committee falls short of suggesting these trades be allowed, it says ‘the integrity of the code may be compromised if a group is seen to be trading outside of the code without penalty’.

As such, it says the ACCC needs to consider if the code is having an impact on market behaviour.

It also argues for a more flexible method of pricing, saying this could relieve much of the resistance towards the Code.

‘The code would be more effective if there was less incentive for growers and traders to seek to operate outside the code,” it states, adding a different method of calculation could still maintain or increase transparency.

Other submissions to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into grocery pricing have also raised significant concerns at the perceived shortcomings of the Horticulture Code of Conduct.

Growcom raised concerns that a lack of action by the ACCC on complaints has left many growers with little option but to rollover with wholesaler demands.

“The lack of public enforcement measures by the ACCC has resulted in the Code not yet addressing either of the major issues of the imbalance of power in the marketplace it was established to tackle; and the issue of market failure,” the statement claims.

It also accuses the ACCC of being ‘toothless’ with its compliance powers because “they do not believe there is massive non-compliance despite significant evidence to the contrary”.

AUSVEG in its submission again argued the code is ‘too prescriptive and inflexible to add value for the majority of businesses within the industry’.

It argues that a detailed inquiry must be held on the effectiveness of the code before being considering extending it to other channels.

Similarly the Horticulture Australia Council says there has been ‘massive non-compliance’ due to inept enforcement activity.

However it argues that extending the code would remove activity of direct suppliers from trading with no written contractual arrangements.

Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:35 am    Post subject: At Last, Action . Clearing Applications Refused.

Beaudesert Shire Council TLPI in action.The areas of refused applications for tree clearing with the intent to erect PH operations seem to be only in Division 4 at this time which gives the untrained observer the impression that the Councillor there is responsible, an impression which the councillor is keen and happy to perpetuate.It seems the division 4 Councillor has been a divisive, media-hogging community manipulator who has kept individuals apart and even members of community groups were not informed of the existence of other concerned residents or groups.

It now seems that council have got the message loud and clear, that residents don’t want hectare after hectare of plastic replacing the trees and pastures of our rural residential area, and they don’t want the effects on visual amenity, property values, their environment and their Health.

Now we just have to get State Government to open their ears and listen to what the community wants instead of having their vision for unimpeded treeless development as far as the eye can see and as fast as is humanly possible.

This from Neighbourhoodnews.com ;

Vegetation Request Refused

Date 24.FEB.07
BEAUDESERT Shire Council has refused three separate applications for tree clearing in the north of the Shire.
They relate to sites at Cheviot St, Greenbank, McTaggart Rd, New Beith and Crowson Lane, North Maclean.
Cr Dave Cockburn, Chair of Council’s Development and Planning Committee, said the refusals were made under Council’s Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) for protecting vegetation.
“We are cracking down on unlawful and unnecessary clearing of vegetation. Before you remove any trees from outside your building envelope, check with Council,” he said.
Landowners are strongly encouraged to contact Council on 5540 5434 or visit and click on Tree Clearing.
Council’s TLPI prevents the removal of any significant native tree greater than 4m in height or 40cm girth at 1m from the ground level. When considering vegetation removal on your property, particularly in the north of the Shire, Tamborine and Tamborine Mountain, you must find out and abide by the TLPI.
In the first case, most of the 3.9ha site in a rural residential area in Cheviot St has been cleared for intensive agricultural use, with a small section at the rear of the property still vegetated.
Council alleges the applicant has unlawfully cleared most of the site, including a number of significant trees, and only submitted an application after Council issued a notice for the landowners to show cause why they should not be prosecuted for the vegetation clearing.

At Cheviot St, the reasons for refusal include:
* The applicant has already cleared trees which appear to have been * Significant Trees and as such, caused detriment to the character and amenity of the area.
* The applicant has not addressed any solutions to this.
* The application is inconsistent with the planning code, which says development in the vegetation management area maximizes the retention of significant trees to maintain and protect the character and visual amenity of the area.

In the second case, the applicants sought approval to remove all vegetation from a 14.2ha site in McTaggart Rd, bordering Oxley Creek. About 5.2ha of the site is within an ecological corridor.
According to the Regional Ecosystem maps produced by the State Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, the vegetation on the land is “of concern” and must be assessed against the provisions of the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

The reasons for refusal include:

* Ecological corridor links are not proposed to be maintained, protected, rehabilitated or restored in any shape or form.
* Connectivity of the ecological corridor will be affected which may impact on native fauna.
* The proposed vegetation removal will cause fragmentation of the ecological corridor and may impact upon its ecological functioning.
* Regionally significant vegetation is not proposed to be maintained, protected or enhanced, which may impact on native fauna and flora and the ecological functioning of the area.
* The proposed vegetation removal does not protect and enhance significant trees that contribute to scenic amenity and character.
* The proposed vegetation removal does not protect the visual amenity when viewed from the streetscape.
* The environmental, nature conservation and scenic amenity values of the landscape will not be maintained, protected or enhanced.
* The proposed vegetation removal may cause future degradation t o nearby Oxley Creek.

In the third case at Crowson Lane, Council refused an application to clear a selection of mature trees to allow agricultural uses. This was refused on the basis that:

* The applicant proposed to clear Significant Trees and such removal would cause detriment to the character and visual amenity of the area.
* The building of a greenhouse, visible from the front of the road, and removal of vegetation at this location, would detract from the visual amenity of the streetscape.
* Approval for clearing vegetation for intensive agricultural uses in a rural residential area was likely to detract from the amenity and character of the area.

A Council source said the intent of rural residential zoning was to allow for predominantly residential uses on larger residential lots.
“Intensive agriculture in most instances can be considered an incompatible land use in residential and rural residential areas,” she said.
Under Council’s new Planning Scheme, which comes into effect in March 2007, intensive agriculture will be deemed impact assessable.
“This means Council will be in a position where it can consider impacts on surrounding land uses,” the council source said.
Great article, and of course it begs the question, WTF happened at Chambers Flat?
Why was clearing that was reported on Friday , August 25th, not acted on until Monday, after most of the huge old trees were down ?
Why were the rest of the trees cleared on Tuesday after we were told that the Council Officer had told them to cease clearing ?
Why did the assessment officer describe the trees there as meagre and sparse and unlikely to support habitat, when Koalas and wallabier were seen unusually in adjacent properties after that?
Why weren’t the original complainants of the clearing replied to until late November?
Why was retrospective approval given to that property owner?

There is reason to believe, that Council is persuing the particular properties it is beacuse they are individual opperators following the ideas of the much larger opperators, and easier to deal with.

It seems that many of the other properties where questions have been asked by residents about the validity of approvals are owned by the same owner, an owner who had demonstrated that money is no object and that legal challenges to council and the implications of racism are part of the repository for the continuation of the operation.

Posted: Tue May 15, 2007 8:40 pm    Post subject:

Under the new Shire plan adopted at the end of April, PH becomes and inconsistent land use in Rural Residential areas, and subject to a development application.So let’s define development;

Development is defined in the Integrated Planning Act 1997 and may include any of the following:

Material change of use of premises;
Reconfiguring a lot (eg. subdividing land or changing boundaries);
Carrying out operational work (eg. excavating or filling, placing advertising devices on premises, landscape works, engineering works, etc.);
Carrying out building work (eg. building, repairing, altering, moving or demolishing a building); and
Plumbing or drainage work.

Here’s a link to the IPA; riveting reading; insomnia curing;

And wholesalers Brisbane Markets have been equally critical of the code, saying growers and wholesalers have been forced to breach the code simply “to maintain an effective commercial relationship”.

It adds the compliance requirements are too much a burden for many.

“Brismark (Brisbane Markets) alone spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal advice to produce template contracts in the impossibly short time allowed for by the Government,” it argues.

“Their implementation has been a tortuous episode punctuated by lengthy negotiations with the ACCC. There are still growers that are unwilling to meet the contractual requirements of the Code and the struggle to achieve compliance continues.”

Brismark continues to oppose the restrictive trading options in the Code.

Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:33 pm    Post subject: Tree Destruction @ Chambers Flat


On , or around, Friday 25th August, work began at a property of about 50 acres at 76/92 Koplick Road in Chambers Flat, Queensland, To remove about 30 acres of very large and very old trees. The work went on that Friday unnoticed until the afternoon because the prior owner had large earthmoving machinery and neighbours hearing it just assumed it was normal. By the afternoon with more than 50 Large trees laid waste, neighbours knew something was going on that shouldn’t. It wasn’t until Monday that Council was contacted and by the time Council officers arrived at the property the damage was done 30 acres of large ,very old trees were down .Men were there cutting saw logs from them which were being snigged up the hill to a stockpile and the rest was being pushed up into piles for burning. At this time ,
No planning permit has been issued for tree removal
No permit has been issued for burning by the local fire warden.
No planning approval has been issued for industry purpose.
No planning has been approved for the erection of 30 acres of frame and plastic greenhouse construction.

The property in question has been sold to Asian market gardeners who want to erect these plastic Greenhouse structures, for the purpose of cultivating Coriander for the export market, so we’re told.
This was used for over 50 years as a cattle improvement property and had little bush anyway, just the numerous large trees.

This is an act of blatant disregard for the local laws. It should not be tolerated.

Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Disregard for Planning Permission


While visiting the site again and talking to local residents , I talked to a person who told me something about the reasons they cleared the way they did.
The person did not want to be on record, so I’m not guaranteeing the factuality of this.
1)The owners accept that they might be fined for their actions but the fine will be small when compared to the daily losses any hold up in the work will cost;-
a) interest on the block is about $4500 per week
b) production quantities will be reached in 12 weeks each week of hold up costs los of turnover of about $18000 per week
c) The machines there to do the work are costing about $2500 per day , so the fewer days they have to have them the better.
2) The owners don’t want to negotiate with the Council or members of the community, its far simpler and more cost effective to just get on with it and pay a few dollars later.
3) They will use the Language barrier and the Racism aspect if confronted and if the matter goes to court that will be their defence.
4) They will refuse access to people for property inspections.
5) The real business here is not intensive protected Horticulture, the real business here is property investment, as primary producers they are not subject to things like CGT , Land Tax and the enterprise of growing a crop can pay the interest and cover all other associated costs while waiting for an increase in the capital value of the property.

Tue May 29, 2007 8:18 pm    Post subject: INTENSIVE HORTICULTURE REGULATORY TASKFORCE

This coming monday, June 4th between 12 and 2pm the first meeting of the Taskforce will take place, both the public and the press will be excluded from the meeting even though it is a public matter.The fact that Council is excluding interested residents who have a long history of work on this subject raises suspicion about the Councils motives and the terms of reference of the Taskforce.
Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:51 am    Post subject:

Beaudesert Shire
Intensive Horticulture
Regulatory Taskforce
Brief
2
Table of Contents
Background………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
Objective …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
Scope…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6
Taskforce……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7
Summary of Relevant Legislation & Policy …………………………………………………………….. 7
Environmental Protection Agency …………………………………………………………………… 8
Environment Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) & Subordinate legislation ………………… 8
Department of Employment & Industrial Relations (DEIR) …………………………….. 8
Workplace Health & Safety (WH&S) Act 1995………………………………………………… 8
Beaudesert Shire Council………………………………………………………………………………… 9
Local Law No. 9 (Public Health)…………………………………………………………………….. 9
Department of Natural Resources & Mines ……………………………………………………… 9
The Water Act 2000………………………………………………………………………………………. 9
Literature……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9
Appendices……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
3
Background
Since April 2004 Beaudesert Shire Council has become increasingly aware of
community concern relating to intensive agriculture activity in the northern part of the
shire. Much of the attention has surrounded the practices of enterprises establishing
extensive greenhouse infrastructure (often referred to as ‘igloos’) from which to operate;
and more specifically the impact on neighboring properties, the local environment and
cumulative environmental impacts.
The Beaudesert Planning Scheme (March 2007) defines Intensive Agriculture as:
The growing of plants or plant material within a building or structure (or outdoors,
if under artificial light), mushroom farming (including on-site composting), turf
farming or hydroponic farming. The term also includes-
(a) a wholesale plant nursery; and
(b) the display and retail sale of products grown and produced on the same
site where undertaken from a roadside stall with a footprint area of 5m2 or
less
Note: The term does not otherwise include the sale of products direct to the public …
Industry interpretation of ‘intensive agriculture’ is wider than that of Council’s planning
scheme; encompassing all intensive farm operation including stock farming. “Intensive
horticulture” refers to intensive plant & crop production, ‘controlled environment
horticulture’ (CEH) or ‘protected cropping’ are industry recognized terms specifically
relating to plant and crop production in a controlled environment such as a greenhouse,
shade structure, glasshouse or similar.
Across the country CEH operators are located in or around urban development. Locally
growers have clustered in the comparatively urbanized northern end of the Shire,
resulting in land-use conflict. Council’s compliance team has conducted an audit to
establish the location of the CEH operations in the shire. To the best of council’s
knowledge the appendix A identifies CEH operations in the Mount Lindesay Corridor.
Community has expressed disappointment with State and Local Government response
to their concerns pertaining to the establishment and operation of the facilities. Council
4
has, within its jurisdiction responded to nuisance complaints, however, local laws provide
only for reactive regulation e.g. imposing fines for non-compliance.
The various state government agencies have a range of legislation available to
proactively regulate many of the issues that are of concern to local residents. To date
there have been relatively small and uncoordinated attempts to develop interagency
cooperation regarding the myriad of concerns resulting from the increase in intensive
agriculture in the area.
Complaints have largely referred to the following:
• excessive clearing of vegetation (often clear felling entire block) on properties to
accommodate the construction of greenhouse infrastructure
• odour associated with the use of manure or other organic fertilizers
• dust emissions during construction and from operational activities
• storm water management
• chemical fumes associated with the use & storage of pesticides and/or
fungicides
• destruction of visual amenity
• suspected illegal activities.
Interest groups concerned with the environmental health have demanded action with
respect to:
• chemical use and storage
• destruction of habitat and environmental management
• waste management
• water management
Council’s new planning instrument will make intensive agriculture activities significantly
more difficult to establish in the Shire. From Council’s perspective, that is an appropriate
outcome as the region in which intensive agriculture activities currently occurs is
predominately occupied by residential development and is no longer appropriate for
intensive agriculture activity.
5
Under Council’s new planning scheme, which was adopted on March 30, 2007 and
came into force on April 1, any new CEH operations would require assessment &
approval prior to establishment. The Building Act (1975) requires that the structures
require a building approval.
Council is currently seeking to amend the planning scheme to expand the definition of
intensive agriculture to include open air market garden operations. This will require all
intensive horticulture operations to undergo impact assessment prior to establishment.
Existing intensive agriculture ventures will continue to have right of use, excepting where
significant expansion or modification of farming enterprise is required.
Council, in response to overwhelming community feedback, has been particularly
enthusiastic to ensure that where intensive agricultural operations exist, there remains a
strong regulatory control over farming practices to ensure the interests of the wider
community are protected without detrimentally impacting legitimate activity.
In late January 2007, Council announced it would form a taskforce inviting State
agencies and other key stakeholders, to examine the potential of establishing more
effective operational standards and regulatory control of intensive agriculture
enterprises, operating predominantly in rural/residential zones.
Objective
The key objective of the task force is to develop recommendations that seek to establish
seamless processes to ensure existing intensive agriculture production operations
conduct themselves in accordance with an appropriate regulatory framework that protect
local amenity and the health of local environment. It is envisaged that the taskforce will
develop a series of recommendations by November 2007. The taskforce will ideally
seek to, but not be limited to:
• Pursue the development of operational guidelines for intensive agricultural
activities of existing farms in the Shire
• Determine the most appropriate legislation available to ensure responsible
farming practice is conducted
• Develop an understanding of the responsibilities and jurisdiction of the various
agencies
6
• Agree on a position on exercising of powers and roles in relation to undefined
and/or disputed areas of responsibility
• Establish a collective agreement relating to dealing with complaints and noncompliance
• Develop an action plan and communication plan to ensure that affected
communities are able to understand outcomes delivered by the taskforce and
provide feedback on proposed action.
In order to achieve those outcomes, the group should, at a minimum:
• Develop an understanding of the rights, obligations and limitations of existing
“intensive agriculture producers” in the Shire
• Develop a common understanding and appreciation of the existing rights of
groups and community members
• Develop a common view of regulatory activities that may need to be undertaken
to protect the rights of the community and enforce obligations on growers and
community members
• Examine the different roles and responsibilities of each agency in regulating
intensive agriculture activities
Scope
While CEH enterprises have received much of the attention to date, other intensive
agriculture operations in more densely populated areas of the Shire have the potential to
impact similarly on neighboring residents and the local environment. This group will
focus on regulating existing intensive horticulture activities including both CEH and
market garden operations.
This taskforce is likely to take a global perspective however the focus of the group, its’
outcomes and agreements will relate specifically to properties within Beaudesert Shire.
It is likely that other South East Queensland (SEQ) urban fringe councils have similar
concerns and problems with conflicting rural/urban land use. The potential exists for the
initiatives of this taskforce to be used as a template for similar inter-agency agreements
and/or initiatives in other local government areas (LGAs).
7
Taskforce
The taskforce consists of a number of stakeholders from Council, State Government
agencies, industry and the community:
Participant Title Organisation
Alastair Dawson Chief Executive Officer Beaudesert Shire Council
Cr Hajnal Ban Councilor Division 4 Beaudesert Shire Council
Cr Bob Bricknell Councilor Division 6 Beaudesert Shire Council
Greg Vincent Principal Inspector Rural Workplace Health & Safety
Queensland
Karen Wiersma Principal Inspector
Occupational Hygiene
Workplace Health & Safety
Queensland
Paul Biggin Inspector Queensland Police Service
Gary Kane Operations Manager Environment Protection
Agency
Lisa Crooks Proprietor Riverview Herbs
Don Pham President Vietnamese Farmers
Federation of Queensland
Kathy Faldt Vice President Logan & Albert Conservation
Association
Jan Davis Chief Executive Officer GrowCOm
Summary of Relevant Legislation & Policy
In considering the matter at hand, it is important to recognize the jurisdictions of the
various agencies and relevant legislation regarding the regulation of the practices that
are of concern to the community and Council. Legislation applicable to intensive
horticulture activities in the Shire is summarized below; appropriate segments are
appended to this document.
8
Environmental Protection Agency
Environment Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) & Subordinate legislation
The Environment Protection Act 1994 (EPA 1994) states that the object of the Act is to
protect Queensland’s environment while allowing for development that improves the total
quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological process
on which life depends.
EPA 1994 notes that the object of the Act is achieved by:
(1) By an integrated management program that is consistent with ecologically
sustainable development.
(2) The program is cyclical and involves the following phases –
a) Phase 1 – establishing the state of the environment and defining
environmental objectives
b) Phase 2 – developing effective environmental strategies
c) Phase 3 – implementing environmental strategies and integrating them
into efficient resource management
d) Phase 4 – ensuring accountability of environmental strategies
Environmental nuisance regulatory provisions are outlined in part 2A of the
Environmental Protection Regulations 1998. These regulations are supported by the
Operational Policy Devolution of Nuisance. In general commercial nuisance is regulated
by the EPA.
Department of Employment & Industrial Relations (DEIR)
Workplace Health & Safety (WH&S) Act 1995
The objective of the WH&S Act 1995 is to prevent a person’s death, injury or illness
being caused by a workplace, by a relevant workplace area, by work activities, or by
plant or substances for use at a workplace.
The WH&S Code of Practice for the Storage and Use of Chemicals at Rural Workplaces
2000 provides guidance on effective ways to manage risks to health and safety arising
from the storage and use of chemicals at rural workplaces.
9
(http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/law/codes/ruralchemicals/index.htm; 15/5/07). Of
particular note are pages 39-42 (Section 10) Managing off-site risks.
Beaudesert Shire Council
Local Law No. 9 (Public Health)
Councils Local Law No. 9 (Public Health) states the objects of the law are to protect
public health and safety by eliminating or reducing acts or omissions that result in:
a) Harm to human health or a safety or personal injury; or
b) Property damage or a loss of amenity; or
c) Environmental harm or environmental nuisance
Department of Natural Resources & Mines
The Water Act 2000
The Water Act 2000 identifies its purpose as an Act to provide for sustainable
management of water and other resources, a regulatory framework for providing water
and sewerage services and the establishment and operation of water authorities, and for
other purposes.
Literature
The Sydney Basin and North Adelaide Plains support Australia’s largest CEH production
areas. The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) established the National Centre
for Greenhouse Horticulture. The centre conducts research, provides an advisory
service and runs education programs for the industry. Substantial work has been
undertaken in New South Wales (NSW) to support integrated development.
The NSW DPI publication “Guidelines for the Development of Controlled Environment
Horticulture – Planning Greenhouse Hydroponic Horticulture in NSW”, considers
planning and development issues surrounding CEH. The final section of the publication
addresses environmental impact management and incorporates best practice guidelines.
The Author Jeremy Badgery-Parker is an extension horticulturalist at the National Centre
for Greenhouse Horticulture in NSW.
10
Badgery-Parker was a 2001 Churchill Fellowship Award undertaking a greenhouse and
siolless horticulture study tour in Canada & Europe. The study tour report, ‘Greenhouse
Horticulture – Beyond Australia’ (2001), provides a brief overview of the Australian
protected cropping industry and draws some comparisons between Australia and the
more sophisticated industries in Canada and Europe. Not surprisingly many of the
issues including land-use conflict are not unique to Australia.
11
Appendices
A. Shire Zones (Map & Intensive agriculture assessment levels)
B. Environment Protection Act (1994) (Chapter 1 Part 1-4; section 319,321-323,
330-332, 358-361, 436-440, 548); Environmental Protection Agency
C. Environmental Protection Regulations (1998) Part 2A
D. Operational Policy, Environmental Nuisance – Devolution to local governments;
Environmental Protection Agency
E. Workplace Health & Safety Act 1995 (section 23–34D; 41-42); Workplace Health
& Safety Queensland, Department of Employment and industrial Relations
F. Code of Practice for the Storage and Use of Chemicals at Rural Workplaces
2000, Workplace Health & Safety Queensland, Department of Employment and
industrial Relations
G. Beaudesert Shire Council Local Law No. 9 (Public Health); (sections 4, 5, 6F, 8,
9); Beaudesert Shire Council
H. Water Act 2000 (section 814, 266), Department of Primary Industries
Queensland
I. Guidelines for the Development of Controlled Environment Horticulture –
Planning Greenhouse Hydroponic Horticulture in NSW section 6, Department of
Primary industries New South Wales
J. ‘Greenhouse Horticulture – Beyond Australia; Jeremy Badgery-Parker, Winston
Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia

Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 1147

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:42 pm

INTENSIVE HORTICULTURE TASKFORCE MEETS
4 June, 2007A NEW taskforce to address intensive horticultural issues met for the first time this week.The 11-member Beaudesert Shire Intensive Horticulture Taskforce, made up of stakeholders from Council, State Government agencies, industry and the community, held their first meeting at Beaudesert Shire Council on Monday, June 4.

Members of the taskforce include representatives from Council, the Division of Workplace Health and Safety, Queensland Police Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Vietnamese Farmers Federation of Queensland, Logan and Albert Conservation Association, Growcom and local industry.

The taskforce has been set up in response to community concern over the development of intensive horticulture operations in Beaudesert Shire, particularly in the northern areas. Over the past 18 months, Council has received a significant number of complaints regarding the operation of some of these facilities. Odour, chemical usage and vegetation clearing have been highlighted as the major concerns.

The taskforce aims to develop a series of recommendations to ensure existing intensive horticulture operations are conducted in line with an appropriate regulatory framework that protects local amenity and the health of the local environment and residents, while recognising the existing rights of farmers.

The taskforce will also look to clearly define the responsibilities and jurisdictions of the various agencies involved and establish a collective agreement to deal with complaints and non-compliance.

A taskforce spokesperson said this week’s meeting signified the first step towards the establishment of a better working relationship between regulatory agencies, industry and the community.

“This is a step in the right direction. It was necessary to bring all the stakeholders to the table to ensure these operations are conducted in a way that is compatible for a rural residential environment,” they said.

“We are looking forward to developing a positive outcome for Beaudesert Shire residents.”

Caption: The Beaudesert Shire Intensive Horticulture Taskforce met for the first time this week.

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:21 am

At the third meeting of the Taskforce, Appologies were made from all the State Government people. I guess their work is done, they effectively have made their position that they believe their roles and responsibilities cover all facets of community concern and it is in fact only community perception and our own stupidity of calling the wrong people the caries our own frustration.Plus, maybe they see BSC as a future non entity and consider further contribution as a watse of time.
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