Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has granted a works approval for the construction of a new abattoir and meat processing facility in Gillieston.
The facility will be capable of processing 3,000 sheep a day within a series of fully-enclosed buildings, which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
EPA executive director Tim Eaton outlined the reaction to the application.
“EPA received 16 submissions on the proposal and held a community conference to further discuss these and work through possible solutions and mitigation measures,” he said. “The key environmental issues raised by the public were about potential odour, noise and dust, and health impacts from livestock.
“EPA has determined that with controls and suitable works approval conditions the environmental risk can be acceptably managed.”
Before Meatworks Australia can begin construction on the facility, they must provide EPA with: final designs of the processing building ventilation system, covered overflow holding yards, wastewater treatment systems and stormwater system; a Construction Environment Management Plan which include management of construction noise and a tree screen planting proposal for the site boundary, holding pens and overflow yards.
Eaton said if EPA weren’t satisfied with any element, they would require Meatworks to provide more information or make suitable changes.
“Once the site is close to commissioning, Meatworks Australia must also develop an ongoing noise and odour monitoring programs and establish a Community Liaison Committee and a community complaints response plan to ensure any ongoing amenity impacts on surrounding residents can be satisfactorily addressed,” he said. “Meatworks Australia must obtain a licence to operate from EPA before the abattoir can begin processing so the community can be assured that this is not a case of set and forget, EPA will be closely monitoring this site before, during and after the construction and will not hesitate to take action if there are any breaches of the works approval or the Environment Protection Act 1970.”