Agricultural Adaptation to Real Regulation on the Urban Fringe: The Chicken Meat Industry's Response to Land-use Conflict in the Western Port Region of Victoria, Australia
Research theorising the rural-urban fringe has not focussed in detail on the regulatory system managing land-use conflict, including disputes arising between agricultural enterprises and residential property owners. To explore local forms of regulation the need to identify relevant actors, their interrelationships and the way that they compete to influence decision-makers is widely recognised in the literature. Moran et al.'s (1996) conceptualisation of ‘real regulation’, with its emphasis on lobbying by social actors and the (re)formulation of legislation, is identified as a theoretical perspective that can help to explain local forms of regulation. The understanding of patterns of regulation on the urban fringe requires a more detailed conceptualisation of non-legislative forms of policy, and a greater appreciation of the different strategies adopted by farmers to influence government. This paper investigates how urban fringe agricultural industries have attempted to influence decision-making within the development approval process. Evidence is presented from the Western Port region in the urban fringe of Melbourne, Victoria, where refusal for the construction of broiler sheds by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has resulted in the chicken meat industry adopting a more scientific siting strategy. It is concluded that, whilst this provides an example of agricultural adaptation and reinforces the importance of adopting a temporal dimension to investigate the land development process, the possibility that government will assess environmental harm differently in the future leaves urban fringe broiler farming in a precarious position.