About Agricultural Land Use Planning

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Agricultural Land Use Planning (ALUP) team provide advice to planning authorities and industry groups; develop policy and influence our partner agency policy frameworks to foster NSW’s agricultural industry to grow in a sustainable and informed manner.

We have a program of work which responds to the evidence gathered by the NSW Agriculture Commissioner in his review of the Right to Farm policy. This program includes developing educational resources for agricultural planning, mapping State Significant Agricultural Land, collaborating with stakeholders, and undertaking research to support future policy changes.

Why plan for agriculture?

Agriculture is important to Australia for its economic and social benefits, providing food security and independence. In 2017/18 the Australian agriculture industry was valued at $59 billion, of which NSW contributed ~23% (~$13 billion). Agriculture in NSW supports 85,000 jobs, ensuring food and fibre for the people of Australia, and contributing toward meeting global demand.

Agriculture provides a cascade of benefits to society by

  • providing jobs in regional communities
  • driving secondary agricultural industries such as animal processing, fibre processing, milling, pressing, canneries and transport
  • supporting numerous industries including wineries, restaurants, and tourism
  • promoting community health and wellbeing by providing some of the best quality produce in the world

Challenges to Agriculture

Agriculture faces new and evolving pressures that can, in part, be reduced through the planning system. These pressures include urban encroachment, increased migration from cities to regional areas, and the impacts of climate change, markets, and global events. Monitoring and minimising loss of agricultural land is key to the risk mitigation process. According to a 2019 Agrifutures report, Australia experienced a 14% decline in land used for food and fibre production between 1973 and 2017. This equates to a loss of 106 million hectares. Evolving community needs and aspirations prompt changes in the use of agricultural land. However, when agricultural land is converted to other uses - especially residential or industrial uses - it can lead to the land becoming sterile, no longer able to be used for agricultural production. Such challenges underscore the importance of agricultural production and maintaining agricultural land.