BALLARAT’S proposed new $21 million saleyard development has overcome an important planning hurdle.
Victoria’s Labor Government has approved changes to the Ballarat Planning Scheme that will facilitate the relocation and development of a new $21 million state of the art livestock exchange facility near Ballarat.
The planning scheme amendment included rezoning of the proposed Miners Rest site from farming zone to special use zone to allow development of what will be called the Central Victorian Livestock Exchange.
The saleyard developer Regional Instructure Pty Ltd (RIPL) now has to complete a development plan for the project covering management of vegetation, traffic, drainage, stormwater and waste, but the City of Ballarat has said development is likely take place in early-mid 2016.
RIPL operations manager Dan Muller said RIPL was gearing up to commence development.
“For us, we are good to go. But we don’t have a timeline (for construction), it is all in the development stage.”
The relocation of Ballarat’s current saleyards to the new site, south west of Miners Rest, will cater for the sale of 70,000 cattle and 1.6 million sheep annually from across Victoria.
The current livestock exchange facility has an annual turnover of $160 million and supports the direct employment of some 630 people across the agriculture sector within the region.
The Victorian Government said the existing site has severe infrastructure limitations impacting animal care, waste management, parking and traffic movement and a lack of appropriate separation from surrounding residences and businesses.
The $21 million investment will modernise operations, increase capacity, create an additional 126 direct and indirect jobs, and generate a total economic activity boost for the Ballarat region of more than $46 million over the course of the project, a Minister for Planning statement said.
Rezoning approval includes list of requirements
However, the Andrew Government said the rezoning approval includes a strict list of requirements RIPL will need to meet before the new livestock exchange facility can be developed.
These requirements include ensuring that water and soil quality are protected and that regulatory authorities (including for flooding and water) are fully satisfied with the proposed facility and how it will operate.
The Environment Protection Authority will also ensure strict environmental standards are met (including for odour and noise) for the site, during construction and on-going operation of the facility, the statement said.
The site will also operate under an ‘Environmental Improvement Plan’ which has built-in review processes required by the EPA.
Acting Minister for Planning, Tim Pallas, said it was important to keep this facility in Ballarat to secure hundreds of local jobs and promote growth in the region’s vital agriculture industry.
“A clear, open and transparent planning process has been followed to ensure the community was able to have its say and its concerns dealt with.
“I commend the Ballarat community on its engaged approach to this vital project.
“The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with supporting projects which create jobs and build stronger regional communities.”