VDL still under scrutiny over dead cattle reports

VDL effluent mismanagement investigations continue


Authorities are visiting farms several times a week.


Investigators continue to visit managers and staff at Australia's largest dairy company almost daily on compliance concerns related to effluent management.

About a month ago, it was revealed an investigation was underway at VDL farms at Circular Head related to the alleged mismanagement of effluent or liquid waste.


At the time, Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson and environment spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff revealed they'd received videos of alleged non-compliance at VDL.

The videos allegedly showed substantial effluent discharge into waterways from North-West dairy farms and reports of dead cattle in settlement ponds.

Circular Head Council, the lead investigator, reported it was satisfied with Van Dairy's steps to achieve compliance, but it wasn't completed.

"The council is satisfied with the steps they have taken to date and the steps they intend to take to resolve their farms' effluent management issues," Circular Head mayor Daryl Quilliam said.

"It is critical that compliance is achieved, and all involved are working towards this objective."

Cr Quilliam said staff from the council visited VDL farms "several times a week" and almost daily to assist them in putting measures in place to reduce the issues.

He said the council would work with the the company until it achieved compliance.

Van Dairy, formerly Moon Lake Investments, headed up by Chinese businessman Lu Xianfeng, purchased Van Diemens' Land Company in 2016.

As part of the purchase, Moon Lake made several commitments, including environmental ones, that it would put in place to improve the Tasmanian dairy industry.

Xianfeng Lu, who heads up the Van Dairy group, the owner of Van Diemens Land Company, when he visited the site in 2016.

Xianfeng Lu, who heads up the Van Dairy group, the owner of Van Diemens Land Company, when he visited the site in 2016.

The Foreign Investment Review Board then approved the proposal under then-Treasurer, Scott Morrison. A condition of the FIRB approval requires Van Dairy to provide an update to the Treasurer each April.

Last week Senator Whish-Wilson again raised concerns in the Senate about Van Dairy's environmental obligations, connecting the deaths of several Tasmanian Devils to VDL's pledge to install devil-proof fencing along the borders to its farms.

However, the Circular Head Council and other stakeholders have said Van Dairy has met its commitment to the devil-proof fencing project after installing virtual sensors.

The EPA and the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority confirmed they were working closely with the council and Van Dairy on the effluent management case.

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The story VDL still under scrutiny over dead cattle reports first appeared on The Examiner.


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