By ZAIDA GLIBANOVIC
TEARS of joy and cheers flooded a full gallery last month as Latrobe City Council approved a permit for the development of Kevin Perry’s property.
The approved planning permit – which upended a recommended refusal by the council officers – will allow Mr Perry to live on the property and carry on the family farming tradition.
Mr Perry recalls growing up in Yinnar on his grandfather’s dairy farm. “As soon as I could stand I was out on the bucket, helping milk the cows,” he said.
With plans to follow in his father’s footsteps, Mr Perry and his father Kevin Perry Senior bought the 21.5 hectare property in Yinnar South 11 years ago.
The property has nine paddocks, two sheds, a stock water network, new stockyards and 20 Angus mothers for breeding.
Mr Perry argued to council that a house on the property is an essential for effective farm management. Experiencing high calving losses on the farm in 2022 resulted in about a $25,000 loss for the Perry’s.
For farmers, a dwelling on farm land was more than just a home, he said; it serves as a farm office, administrative centre, meeting room, first aid shed, animal pharmacy, security and biosecurity checkpoint, tea room, toilet block, and monitoring post around the clock, 365 days a year. Stock can be monitored for health and welfare and regularly rotated through the paddocks to ensure maximum feed utilisation.
The permit approval means that Mr Perry, his partner Sarah and son Charlie can move out of their parents’ home and raise their own family on the property.
The family will also be able to manage their time more effectively and be more productive, being closer to the stock.
First buying the property 11 years ago, the Perry’s approached council informally a few years ago with no luck, but with the help of a farming consultant, the Perry’s managed to get the plan in motion.
“It’s an interesting scenario, not many people get this through. This case was a team effort and quite the emotional journey,” Mr Perry said.
Mr Perry suggested this council decision “can set precedence for the area”. “Our land is landlocked by other farms. There’s no room to expand,” he said.
As the property is under 100 hectares, it became subject to a planning permit.
The council issued a report into the planning permit that refused on the grounds that the justification was not adequate and the land did not need a dwelling.
The council report found also that the case was inconsistent with the purpose of the farming zone and local policy.
The property in a bushfire risk area was also at odds under conditions proposed by Planning Scheme Amendment C127.
Dean Suckling, director at Enprove Ag & Environment and Mr Perry’s farming consultant, was relieved that the “right outcome was made”.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, I’ve worked with thousands of farms, big and small and they are all worthy. I commend Mr Perry for improving our industry. He is exactly the type of person who gives our industry a future and he is correct; their farming will be better when he lives there and the community will also be better for it,” he said.