A bill to amend agritourism legislation introduced in 2022 has been submitted to NSW Parliament.
Member for Kiama Gareth Ward introduced the Environmental Planning and Assessment Legislation Amendment (Agritourism) Bill 2023 this week.
The bill responds to council and community concerns about planning changes that allow, among other things, property owners to establish a function centre on an agricultural property without a development application.
The bill that introduced follows a consultation period, community group sessions, meetings with councils and hundreds of supportive submissions.
"Agritourism should celebrate farming; it should complement agricultural practices, but it shouldn't impact the quiet enjoyment of property enjoyed by neighbouring property owners," Mr Ward told the House.
"Changes by the former government have allowed for a free-for-all and risk everything, from the fragmentation of agricultural land to biosecurity.
"My bill will seek to correct the current imbalance and ensure that genuine agritourism is supported but these regulations aren't used as a back-door for inappropriate development of agricultural land."
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.
"A function centre is not agritourism," Mr Ward said.
"Not only is this a ridiculous proposition, but current regulations also mean that everyone who owns agricultural land can set up a function centre without a development application (DA).
"This provision could literally turn every farmer into a restaurateur without a single approval from your local council or notification to your neighbours.
"If people want to establish a function centre on their land, it is appropriate that such development be approved by way of local DA."