Land not fit for abattoir, says Gillieston locals

By Country News

“It is our livelihoods at stake.”

That is the message from concerned Gillieston Action Group member Cassandra Rowe in regard to the new $30 million abattoir proposed to be built in Gillieston.

Objectors from the group raised issues with State Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh during a public meeting on Friday, making the argument the area is not equipped with the proper infrastructure to be able to sustain such a large-scale operation.

“If there are more than 50 people pinging internet through the tower then we lose our connection, which will affect all of our businesses,” Ms Rowe said.

“Also, the amount of traffic will impact the safety of the roads and our children.”

Previously made arguments such as dust pollution, airborne disease and odour issues were put forward to Mr Walsh who expressed his support for the group’s case.

“The first concern is that it is actually land that is zoned farming, and why should it be appropriate to put a green field abattoir in the middle of a farming area?” he said.

“Given the fact there is no potable water supply or waste disposal at the moment, the proponent will have to build all that infrastructure themselves.

“There is also a need for a major power upgrade and also the issue around traffic management. There are a lot of questions to be answered.”

Objectors attended a Section 20B conference run in conjunction by the Environment Protection Authority and Greater Shepparton City Council on July 31 and were given the opportunity to raise issues with both authorities.

Members of the Gillieston Action Group were given time to voice their concerns at five allocated tables, but some of the group's members were left frustrated at being unable to cover all the bases at the event, a point which Mr Walsh hopes to clear up for the Gillieston locals.

“The EPA has already held a conference with the objectors, but it does appear it was very well stage-managed, and they were probably well constrained by the consultants in what they could put forward,” he said.

“The first thing I will do is speak with the mayor of Shepparton and ask if I can get a briefing from their offices about the process so far, and what the process is going forward from now.”