The NSW Agriculture Commissioner (Commissioner) was appointed in August 2020 and was tasked with reviewing the NSW Government’s Right to Farm Policy. The Commissioner has conducted a review (PDF, 583.52 KB), informed by stakeholder feedback, and a number of research reports, including the Australian Farm Institutes Managing farm-related land use conflicts in NSW. The review found that the Policy has been delivered but has not fixed the issues of land use conflict with farmers. In addition, other barriers in the planning framework to primary production have been identified.
The Commissioner recommends the development of an Agricultural Land Use Planning Strategy (ALUP Strategy) to address three key issues:
The Commissioner has drafted options that could inform the content of the ALUP Strategy. You can review the options paper and provide feedback on the ALUP Strategy by completing the surveys below or making a submission to email@example.com before Sunday 28 February 2021. This has now been extended to Friday 12 March.
Note that issues regarding forestry, private native forestry, mining, energy, biodiversity, drought, water and animal welfare are not in scope of this work.
Land uses change over time, responding to population growth, lifestyle preferences and economic factors. Agriculture competes for land across the rural landscape and often finds itself under pressure from urban encroachment and land fragmentation. Agriculture plays an important role in regional economic stability and growth, and food and fibre supply to our cities. With a burgeoning global population, increasing protein values, and global connectivity, NSW also has an opportunity to maximise economic potential for our regions through maintaining stock of the most productive agricultural land.
An agricultural land use planning strategy could include a policy on how good agricultural land should be defined and planned for. This policy could be implemented in different ways ranging from guidelines for local council planners to statutory rules that make decision makers consider agriculture when developing this land.
The Commissioner is seeking your feedback on how to define the best agricultural land and whether a map should be used to identify this land. Your feedback is also sought on whether the policy should be a guideline, a mandated state-wide policy or an opt-in policy for councils.
To view the options see chapter 1 of the options paper (PDF, 526 KB).
Land use conflict impacts farmers differently. Responding to complaints and changing operating practices to resolve conflict can impacts a farmers’ business and cause mental health, financial and social stress for farmers.
Land use conflict can involve existing agricultural processes or new and expanding operations. It can also occur when residential uses move into agricultural areas and new neighbours don’t understand the realities of agricultural practices. The conflict can cause delays in development approvals and impose more costs on farmers to defend standard agricultural activities.
The Agriculture Commissioner proposes that the ALUP Strategy develop a simple, accessible and fair dispute resolution system that can support farmers and regional communities positively manage disputes about farming practices. This system could be an expansion of existing dispute bodies, such as the Independent Planning Commission or the NSW Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Alternatively, a new dispute resolution body with statutory powers could be established.
The Commissioner is seeking your feedback what an alternative dispute resolution process could look like and what would be most useful to reduce the impacts of land use conflict on farmers.
To view the options see chapter 2 of the options paper (PDF, 526 KB).
There is a perception among stakeholders that the planning framework does not reflect the needs of agriculture and restricts agricultural operations and investment in agribusiness in NSW.
The NSW Government is committed to reducing red tape and making it easier to set up and conduct business in the State. There are options to improve the planning framework so that it better reflects the needs of agriculture and promotes economic growth. This may include clarifying definitions in the planning framework to make it clear when a development application is needed or introducing a new agent of change principle to the development process.
The Commissioner is seeking your feedback on a range of options that would be progressed to better support agriculture, improve consistency in planning decisions and support economic growth.
To view the options see chapter 3 of the options paper (PDF, 526 KB).