Member for Kiama on the South Coast Gareth Ward has released a draft private members bill following community concerns about the negative impacts of deregulated practices on farms and rural communities.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment released an amended policy in October 2022.
The policy, which came into effect on December 1, 2022, amended the terms for farm gate and experience activities and farm stay accommodation and created new planning pathways to allow these activities to be either fast-tracked for complying developments or with no planning approval for those exempt.
The Independent MP described the amended policy as a "free for all" approach.
"I support agritourism that is genuinely agriculture related and sustainable," Mr Ward said.
"I know these activities can generate additional income for farmers and boost tourism in regional communities.
"However, changes made by the former government allow agritourism to be 'exempt and complying', meaning there is no community consultation and no DA is required."
Properly regulated, Mr Ward said his Environmental Planning and Assessment Legislation Amendment (Agritourism) Bill 2023 would ensure the right balance was struck between promoting rural and regional tourism, protecting primary producers and local communities.
"Agritourism can be a real boost for farmers, tourism, jobs and the local economy," he said.
"But the current unrestricted expansion of this industry will come at the expense of neighbouring property owners who should expect the quiet enjoyment of their properties."
Mr Ward said the former Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts, reneged on assurances from the Department of Planning.
"The minister brushed aside previous government assurances that agritourism 'must be ancillary to agricultural use of the land' and mandated that landowners can now 'earn more from agritourism than primary production'," Mr Ward said.
"Everyone from NSW Farmers to the Country Woman's Association has expressed concerns about the 'one-size-fits-all' approach across the state that risks fragmentation of precious agricultural land in NSW and removes the right of local communities to have a say in the future of their rural environment."
"My bill will recognise the role agritourism plays whilst giving councils the opportunity to consult and regulate this activity to ensure we achieve the right balance which addresses tourism, environmental issues, biosecurity, public safety and possible land use conflicts."
The Berry Forum has had extensive involvement with the Department of Planning since the agritourism initiative was announced in March 2021.
"Genuine low-impact, agriculture related agritourism activities introduced with community and council involvement are welcomed," Berry Forum secretary Stuart Coughlan said.
"However, the previous government's focus on giving free rein to wealthy landowners to develop high-impact large function centres on primary production land was disingenuous.
"The original objective of the agritourism planning provisions was to facilitate an ancillary income for farmers and producers. However, at the last minute, the government announced that landowners could earn more income from their agritourism business than their primary production business. "
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Legislation Amendment (Agritourism) Bill 2023 will be available for public comment and feedback for 28 days.
Mr Ward said submissions would be considered before introducing the final bill for debate in parliament.