11 Sep 2023 AgritourismReform

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has reminded local residents to have their say on a draft Private Members Bill on unregulated Agritourism with submissions closing at 5PM tomorrow. Submissions can be made through Mr Ward’s office by emailing [email protected]

Mr Ward said his office has been inundated with support for the bill with only one submission against the proposal.

Mr Ward said that the Environmental Planning and Assessment Legislation Amendment (Agritourism) Bill 2023 seeks to ensure the right balance is struck between promoting rural and regional tourism, protecting primary producers and local communities.

“Properly regulated, agritourism can be a real boost for farmers, tourism, jobs and the local economy. I support agritourism, 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.

“Prior to the State Election, the then Planning Minister intervened and reneged on assurances given by the Department of Planning by unilaterally mandating a free-for-all with everything from function centres, restaurants, caravans, campervans and camping allowed on any land where agriculture is permitted – all without any council involvement, a development application or consideration for its impact.

"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 has encouraged people interested to have their say before consultation closes at 5PM tomorrow.

“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,” Mr Ward concluded.