Environmental zone reforms miss the mark

Reforms to environmental zones across the North Coast announced this week by the NSW Government do not address the restrictive impact on local farming communities according to NSW Farmers.

NSW Farmers Executive Councillor and Alstonville dairy farmer Kath Robb said while some of the reforms were a step forward, farmers still faced the prospect of multiple zonings on their land.

“The multiple zonings are still ambiguous and create uncertainty for farmers,” Mrs Robb said. NSW

Farmers lobbied for a review of the environmental zones on the Far North Coast in 2011 after draft standard instrument local environment plans were released for five Far North Coast local government areas.

“The crux of our policy is that we want recognition of the importance of local food and fibre production and recognise that red tape duplication does nothing for the environment,” Mrs Robb said.

“Planning policy must outline frameworks that promote rather than restrict local agricultural industries and recognise the environmental stewardship of farmers.

“There are some positive reforms including that the primary use of the land be the first consideration when making zoning decisions and that there be more robust verification techniques including ground truthing for environmental zones and a relaxation of activities permitted in E2 and E3 zones.

“Overall though, the reforms have missed the mark. They do not recognise the importance of local food production and the unnecessary duplication of law that environmental zones represent.

“It is hard to understand how this could be considered when we have work underway on a State Government commitment with NSW Farmers to develop a right to farm policy. We will be making this point clear in our discussions with them on this issue,” Mrs Robb concluded.

Ends

22 October 2015

Contact: Danica Leys

Phone: 1300 794 000

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