23 Nov 2023

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has introduced the Environmental Planning and Assessment Legislation Amendment (Agritourism) Bill 2023 into the NSW Parliament to respond 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. 

“A function centre is not agritourism. 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 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. 

“When I stood for election in March this year, I promised to take a proposal to parliament to reverse these changes, and that’s exactly what I’ve done,” Mr Ward concluded.  

A copy of the bill can be found here.