Farmers highlight issues with E-Zones

NSW Farmers View - The Land

In 2011, NSW Farmers successfully lobbied for a review of the environmental zones (Ezones) on the far north coast. 

At that time, draft standard instrument local environment plans (LEPs) were released for five local government areas. Those plans identified a large amount of traditional agricultural land that would be proposed to be zoned for environmental conservation.

The EZone classification can be quite prescriptive with many activities requiring development assessment, consent or, in some cases, being outright prohibited. Although the NSW Government publically released the report last month after receiving it many months ago – it has only allowed a three week public consultation period.
Nevertheless, we are hopeful our members in affected areas have had the opportunity to review the report and we encourage them to make contact with us with any feedback. NSW Farmers provided a submission on the report and to bolster our position and support our members, we are holding an open forum to discuss the report and NSW Government’s response on 2 July in Lismore.
Feedback collected at the forum will be taken directly to the Minister. We are advocating for policy which ensures there is no-net-loss to agricultural land in light of increasing land use competition from urban expansion and extractive industries as well as lifestyle ‘blockies.’
Our submission highlighted that environmental zones and overlays on agricultural land can be an unnecessary duplication of pre-existing environmental restriction and can only work to further hinder the sustainable development of agriculture.
In our submission we supported a full economic and social analysis as a part of applications for environmental zonings. We noted that a significant amount of the mapping and ‘ecological characteristics’ zoned in the draft LEPs were in fact errors and were not able to be ‘ground-truthed’.
We have supported the finding that agricultural activity on land is not always at the expense of biodiversity and we encourage a planning system that recognises farmers’ environmental stewardship.

Representatives from the NSW Government Department of Planning and Environment have announced that findings coming out of this review will be applied state-wide. It could be assumed that these principles will be used to form guidance for the new local plans which will replace the standard instrument LEPs if and when the new planning system begins.

For this reason it is imperative that the principles underpinning the interim report and government response are adequately scrutinised and that the process is fully comprehensive and transparent. for further information on the forum to be held in Lismore. 


18 June 2014 

Contact: Danica Leys

Phone: 02 9478 1078

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