TAMWORTH Regional Council’s decision to approve Baiada Poultry’s development application for a $82 million broiler operation at Manilla will be challenged in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
An appeal was lodged this week on behalf of Manilla residents who formed the Namoi River Community Group (NRCG) last year to fight against the poultry giant’s controversial proposal.
Last month, Tamworth’s councillors voted unanimously in favour of five separate development applications providing for a total of 70 sheds to house up to three million chickens.
The decision to approve what would amount to Australia’s largest chicken meat operation came despite the council receiving 80 objections during the extended public consultation period.
NRCG president Matthew Fletcher told The Leader yesterday the group believed it had a strong case that the council’s planning department had erred in recommending the applications’ approval.
He said one of the group’s main arguments was that Baiada should not have been allowed to submit its plans as five separate applications, thereby ensuring council and not the independent Joint Regional Planning Panel was the consent authority.
“This development should never have been approved,” he said.
“We feel that if it was assessed as one development, as it should have been instead of being divided into five, and went to the planning panel they would not have approved this.
“These five farms will equate to Australia’s largest poultry development being established in a location that NRCG believe will have adverse social and environmental impacts.”
Speakers who add- ressed councillors prior to the vote last month detailed a litany of concerns over the impact of the development on residents’ health and safety, as well as stress on the Namoi River.
“These farms will not be built to best practices and the DPI, which was not a consent authority, but who offered advice
to TRC, stated that alternatives to routing traffic through the Manilla township need to be outlined,” Mr Fletcher said.
“However, TRC was quite happy to go ahead with this development and approve it, and that will now allow 12,000 extra heavy vehicles a year to come through the Manilla township.”
Under a Land and Environment Court class one appeal, a court commissioner will conduct a merit review of the council’s original decision.