Tweed Shire Council has asked the NSW government for an exemption from the planning reform for agritourism due to the impact the changes are going to have on the Tweed Shire.
‘There are a large number of things that could have a large impact on our shire,’ explained Mayor Chris Cherry.
‘We seek to request an exemption from these changes to allow us to do our housing growth strategy. It is something that could have a large impact on our community.’
How the agritourism rules will be interpreted and compliance issues were raised as serious concerns.
Councillor Cherry said that Local Government NSW (LGNSW) have also spoken out about the way these reforms are being implemented and the lack of consultation with the community.
‘There was a consultation with councils but not the community. Then the state government came back with a very different document.’
Land use conflict
President of LGNSW Darriea Turley, who is also a councillor of the Broken Hill City Council, said in October 2022 that, ‘While councils are supportive of initiatives to provide farmers with supplementary avenues of income, the rushed implementation of these reforms by the NSW Government has left much to be desired.
‘Critically, the heightened potential for land use conflict as a result of these reforms will require attention and response from council officers.
‘This will, unfortunately, divert council planning resources – already under extreme pressure – away from critically important development assessment functions. It will also hamper the ability of councils to address the housing crisis, especially in those communities severely affected by this year’s flooding,’ she said.
Tweed Councillor Dr Nola Firth also spoke to the motion saying that, ‘it is another situation where the state is not consulting us’.
‘There seems to be enormous confusion about this reform. Many councillors [from other councils] are not happy. It is going to increase our compliance issues without resourcing us,’ she said.
Under the rules there is scope for self-assessment which Tweed Shire Council staff have said ‘will increase illegal dwellings’ pointed out Cr Firth.
The vote to seek ‘exclusion of Tweed Shire from amendments [to agritourism rules] until the Growth Management and Housing Strategy is adopted and a clearer locally relevant picture of housing supply is available’ was unanimous. Councillor Warren Polgalse was absent from the meeting.