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Environmental legislation and regulation of cattle feedlots

Beef production is often more efficient in cattle feedlots. If you are operating a cattle feedlot in Queensland, you must comply with a range of Australian and Queensland laws and regulations.

Australian legal requirements for cattle feedlots

The National Guidelines for Beef Cattle Feedlots in Australia (PDF, 1.2MB) and National Beef Cattle Feedlot Environmental Code of Practice (PDF, 450KB) encourages you to ensure your beef cattle feedlot is environmentally sustainable and operates with minimum environmental impact.

The Australian guidelines were designed to complement, rather than replace, Queensland laws. Topics include:

  • selecting a site
  • complying with approval conditions for feedlot construction
  • managing construction-related environmental impacts
  • designing controlled drainage systems
  • composting manure and carcasses
  • using effluent and manure.

Queensland-specific legal requirements for cattle feedlots

All methods used in cattle feedlots in Queensland are environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) under the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019 and require a:

  • development permit for the property
  • environmental authority for the operator.

These approvals contain environmental management conditions.

Legal requirements when establishing a cattle feedlot

You should understand the following legal requirements before you establish a cattle feedlot.

Applying for a development permit for a cattle feedlot

To legally operate a cattle feedlot, you need a development permit issued under the Planning Act 2016 and an environmental authority (EA) issued under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. This applies to new and expanding cattle feedlots.

Contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) via the Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23 to apply for a permit and EA. Alternatively you can find further information on how to apply for and manage your EA online.

Property registration for cattle feedlots

If you keep any cattle, you must register your property with Biosecurity Queensland. Registering your property helps you to prevent, respond to and recover from livestock-related pests and diseases that threaten the environment and other animals. Contact the Customer Service Centre to register your property and to check if there are any other environmental management laws that apply to your feedlot.

Local or site-specific requirements for cattle feedlots

Before purchasing land for a cattle feedlot, check with the local council for any environmental management requirements such as separation distances from houses.

Talk to ILERU officers about site-specific requirements. Your cattle feedlot must also comply with requirements under the:

Applying for and managing your environmental authority (EA)

Visit the environmental licences and permits forms and fees finder to apply for a new EA or manage existing EAs. The diagnostic tool will identify any forms, fees and supporting information you need for your application.