Chicken farm stink and stoush: Government urged to act

Susan Shay's Scenic Rim farm currently has 160,000 chickens.
Susan Shay's Scenic Rim farm currently has 160,000 chickens. Contributed

CHICKEN farmers in the Scenic Rim are hitting back at concerns raised by residents over the noise, dust and odour created by large poultry sheds in the region.

Earlier this month Scenic Rim mayor Greg Christensen demanded the State Government address the long-term impact of industrialised poultry farms.

After hearing the concerns of local land owners, Cr Christensen said the impact of dust and odour emissions on properties next to poultry farms was a matter of increasing concern to the Scenic Rim community.

The farmer's perspective:

LIKE many farmers, Susan Shay was forced to give up dairy farming and turn to poultry in order to survive.

The Scenic Rim farmer turned to free-range poultry in 2003 and said most chicken farms in the area stuck to strict regulations which were already placed on the industry.

"I understand some of their concerns. I agree that poultry farms need to be in the right locations - in rural areas away from residential housing - and that's what usually happens," Ms Shay said.

"We are farmers and this is a farming community and I believe the current guidelines are good. They have been developed based on data from our best scientists and they have done a lot of research."

Scenic Rim chicken farmer Susan Shay has hit back at residents concerns over dust and odour emissions from large poultry sheds in the region.
Scenic Rim chicken farmer Susan Shay has hit back at residents concerns over dust and odour emissions from large poultry sheds in the region. Contributed

Ms Shay currently has four large chicken sheds which can hold 160,000 birds and plans to build two additional sheds to increase her numbers to 240,000.

She said, while she understood residents' concerns, it was rare for odour or noise to be an issue which would affect neighbouring properties, even on large industrial poultry farms.

"Throughout the year there are periods where the potential for odour increases due to the size of birds and weather conditions like heat and humidity," the farmer said.

Scenic Rim Regional Council recently denied two applications for new poultry farms to be built, despite them meeting State Government guidelines.

"Everybody eats chicken, it's one of our highest consumed proteins and we need more poultry farms to meet the demand," Ms Shay said.

"If a farm is meeting all the requirements of the current guidelines and is operated in accordance with the high industry standard, there is really no reason why it shouldn't be approved.

"It takes a lot of money to go through the planning process, even before approval is given."

Ms Shay, whose family has farmed her Scenic Rim property for more than 100 years, said she was glad to have made the switch to poultry.

"We are proud of what we do here," she said.

"We do what's right by our animals and what's right by our community in order to put food on the tables of Australian families."

State Government response:

THE Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning said it would review the current odour modelling criteria after hearing concerns from the Scenic Rim.

"Local Government is responsible for setting local planning requirements and assessing development applications, including applications for poultry farms, against their planning schemes," a spokesperson said.

"However, the State Government is aware of community concerns around poultry farms on the Scenic Rim and is working with key councils to consider options for improvement.

"The Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning is currently looking into options for improving and clarifying the State's interests in development assessment for poultry farms and will be consulting with relevant stakeholders. As part of this, the current odour modelling criteria will be reviewed."

Topics:  chicken greg christensen poultry farm qt country scenic rim scenic rim regional council

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