Keeping of Horses and Livestock

Can I keep horses or livestock on my property?

The Shire of Murray Town Planning Scheme No.4 classifies land into certain zones. On a property zoned ‘Rural’ under the Scheme, keeping of horses and livestock is classed as ‘Rural Pursuit’ and does not require planning approval unless the number of horses proposed exceeds the stocking rate guidelines. Horses and livestock may also be kept in some rural residential, special rural and special use zones, subject to approval from the Shire. Horses and livestock are not permitted in other zones, such as residential, commercial or industrial areas.

How many horses or livestock can I keep on my property?

The number of horses and any livestock is dependent on a number of factors such as the soil type, the size of the property, the location relative to wetlands and remnant vegetation, the fact whether the horses are stabled and for how long during a 24 hour period, whether the paddocks are irrigated and some provisions in the Shire’s Town Planning Scheme for various rural residential, special rural and special use areas.

What are stocking rates?

Stocking rates are the number of stock e.g. sheep, cattle, horses, emus or any other type of animal that can consistently be kept on a piece of pasture all year round with minor additional feed and without causing environmental harm. Stocking rates are shown as Dry Sheep Equivalents (DSE) which is the number of adult sheep (wethers) that can be sustained on each hectare all year round. Shire officers can assist you in determining the soil type and the stocking rates for your property.

What is environmental harm?

The Environmental Protection Act 1986 defines environmental harm as ‘an alteration to the environment to its detriment or degradation or potential detriment or degradation’ and an ‘alteration to the environment to the detriment or potential detriment of an environmental value’. See the following website for further information.

How is the stocking rate calculated?

The Department of Agriculture and Food suggests a baseline stocking rate for various soil types. The calculation of the base stocking rate is based on the area of cleared pasture available for stock and not upon the lot size. The base stocking rate may (where permitted under the Shire of Murray’s Town Planning Scheme No. 4) be supplemented with additional animal husbandry and land management measures, which may allow additional stock to be kept in certain situations.

Can I increase my stocking rate?

Yes. Where permitted under the Shire of Murray’s Town Planning Scheme No. 4 and the Department of Agriculture and Food stocking rate guidelines for rural and small holdings, stocking rates may be increased with improved soil management, animal feeding techniques and irrigation. Written approval must be sought from the Shire of Murray for increased stock numbers and the Department of Water prior to any increased usage of ground water, or from the Water Corporation for an increased usage of scheme water.

What if I want to keep more horses on my property than the guidelines state?

Proposals to locate more horses than the stocking rate guidelines provide will require an Equine Management Plan and an application for planning approval to be submitted to the Shire for a determination prior to the location of horses on the lot.

What is an Equine Management Plan?

An Equine Management Plan is a report that is prepared by the owner or manager of a property showing how the stocking of horses will be managed to prevent environmental harm.

Can I keep more horses on my property if they are stabled some or most of the time?

Yes. Each application to keep horses on a lot is assessed on its own individual merits and in some cases where permitted more horses can be kept on a lot if they are stabled some of the time.

Do I need approval to construct a stable and keep a horse on my lot?

Yes. All proposals to construct a stable and keep a horse on your lot require Shire planning approval prior to the construction of a stable and the location of a horse on your lot.

For more information on the planning approval process associated with horses and livestock, please see the Shire’s Planning Information Sheets.

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