10.4 C
Byron Shire
May 20, 2024

Far North Coast branch of NSW Farmers launches

Latest News

Consumer watchdog asked to investigate MasterChef ‘renewable gas’ claims

Claims that ‘renewable gas’ is making MasterChef 'greener' are under scrutiny following a complaint to the ACCC.

Other News

Labor’s gas failure?

I can’t understand how Labor can commit to gas for the future while the UN Secretary-General said last year...

Mullum Road upgrade

Construction is expected to commence in December to improve the flood-prone Mullumbimby Road near Uncle Tom’s corner.

Reading flash mob? Kyogle leads the way

Saturday saw what may have been a world first with a reading flash mob hitting the streets of Kyogle as they prepare for the Kyogle Readers and Writers Festival.

Back, bigger and better than ever

Stone & Wood’s annual Festival of the Stone is back, bigger and better than ever on Saturday, 1 June. This year is shaping up to be a huge celebration of community, music and delicious food – all for a good cause.

The Toad, the Whale and the Sun

Filmmaker and environmental activist Dean Jefferys will be hosting the world premiere of his epic feature documentary The Toad, the Whale and the Sun, at the Byron Community Centre on Friday, 31 May at 5pm and again at 8pm, with a panel discussion and Q+A after both screenings.

Wombat burrows provide critical shelter for other species

A new study, published in the Journal of Mammalogy, found wombat burrows help other animals by providing critical shelter for numerous species following severe wildfire, and may even be an important source of water.

Burringbar farmer Craig Huf is the first elected Chair of the new NSW Farmers Far North Coast Branch. Photo Aslan Shand

The new NSW Farmers Far North Coast Branch (NSWFFNC), that will be representing farmers from the Tweed and Byron Shires, launched yesterday (Tuesday, 7 February) at the Murwillumbah Services Club. 

Burringbar farmer Craig Huf is the first elected Chair of the new branch and told the gathering that the ‘formation of the branch hails an exciting new opportunity for farmers on the far north coast. It was formed primarily as a result of th evisionary thinking of the rura community who are driven by a desire to enhance the resilience, strength and future sustainability of the ag sector on the far north coast.’

Immediate past president of NSW Farmers James Jackson highlighted the important role that the organisation plays as a lobby group engaging with all parties to get the right outcomes for farmers. 

Immediate past president of NSW Farmers James Jackso. Photo Aslan Shand

Keeping our farmers

‘NSW Farmers is exactly what we make of it,’ he said. ‘We can shape it. It is a democratic organisation that listens to its grass roots. Shape the organisation to how you want it so that it reflects your views and so that it is what you want it to be.’

Key issues raised were around land use conflict and the struggle that farmers have expanding their lots as ‘the affluent from Sydney’s north share purchase full size operating farms to use as lifestyle blocks,’ said Mr Huf. ‘The prices they pay are well past the point of achieving an economic return for any neighbouring farmer seeking to expand.’

While land use conflict was a key issue they also raised the importance of farmers having a secondary income and highlighted the opportunities for ‘a sideline supplementary agritourism operation to help future proof the farm… and the ‘great untapped opportunities north coast farmers have [for] the demand for residences’. In particular, the cost of development application was highlighted and that the implementation of the agritourism SEPP had facilitated development on farms that would have previously been unviable. 

‘The recent NSW state government measures allowing agritourism as complying or exempt development are very welcome… Local farmers are already utilising the like of Hipcamp to manage and bring outsiders to the shire.’

While the DA requirements for effluent, soil, ecology, geotechnical and Aboriginal heritage are seen as burdensome with these reports for a DA costing ‘around $50,000’ according to Mr Huf, both Byron and Tweed Shire councils had asked the state government or exemptions from the Agritourism SEPP. They were concerned with the lack of financial support from the state government in relation to the planning costs to councils of the SEPP, to be borne by all ratepayes, and the impact on the housing crisis and the potential ‘increase [in] illegal dwellings’. 

Costs rising

Issues around weed control and farm access roads were also raised, again the cost and time frames of DAs were a key issue hindering progress and safety. 

Mr Huf pointed out that they had spent over $35,000 on weed control this season with camphor and giant devils fig both thriving in the high rainfall environment.

Safety

Mr Huf said that rollovers are ‘by far our greatest workplace risk’.

He said a DA and wait time for two years to move forward with addressing road safety meant that addressing worksafe obligations in a timely way was ‘almost impossible to achieve’ under current regulations.

‘Policy makers must take part of the responsibility for the exit of farmers in the region’ said Mr Huf as he called for a reduction of ‘the burden of compliance’ on farmers. 

‘If we can ease the burden of regulation and support local farmers, then more local produce will be available to all of us, and we will see less imported product on supermarket shelves, Ultimately, the benefit is for everyone.’

Get involved

For more information on the NSW Farmers Far North Coast Branch email: [email protected] or register at NSW Farmers.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stone & Wood wins at Australian International Beer Awards

Stone & Wood Brewing are proud to announce a big win at the Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards held last night, with the brewery’s Big Pale Ale taking home the title of Champion Australian Beer. Big Pale Ale also took out the Best Australian Pale Ale category.

Cabarita Beach powers up with new EV fast charger

The future of sustainable transport is rolling into northern NSW with the opening of a new electric vehicle fast charging station at Cabarita on the weekend.

Wombat burrows provide critical shelter for other species

A new study, published in the Journal of Mammalogy, found wombat burrows help other animals by providing critical shelter for numerous species following severe wildfire, and may even be an important source of water.

Hundreds of DV arrests across state

Police have charged more than 550 people during a four-day operation targeting the state’s most dangerous domestic and family violence offenders.