Agriculture is a vital contributor to the vibrancy of regional NSW. The sector is worth over $12 billion a year, it employs over 75,000 people, and it supports the nearly 30,000 food and beverage manufacturing jobs in regional NSW.
Yet, the encroachment of urban development on agricultural land is having an impact on this vital sector, giving rise to land use conflict and nuisance complaints.
NSW Farmers President James Jackson said embedding a whole of government understanding of recognising and preserving important agricultural land will be a critical way of overcoming uncertainty for farmers, especially those in peri-urban areas.
“When all areas of Government join in an obligation to protect land that is the future of farming in NSW, and explicitly recognise the social, economic and environmental value of farming to the NSW community and wider Australian economy, areas of potential land use conflict can be constructively resolved,” Mr Jackson said.
“The Agriculture Commissioner role, which was established last year, will be critical in representing agriculture’s perspective in land use planning.”
“A key component of the Agriculture Commissioner’s role will be to advance an improved planning system by engaging agencies across government and to develop within government decision-making a robust understanding of what is strategic and important agricultural land, and an obligation to consider what must be preserved for the long term future of farming in NSW.”
“NSW Farmers supports $15 million being allocated to this role over four years to help it deliver the cross departmental representation in decisions impacting farmers, including land-use planning.”
Mr Jackson concluded that this position enables the independent identification and resolution of issues affecting agriculture across the state.