Posted on November 3, 2022 by Stuart Simington and

Planning reforms to facilitate ‘agritourism’ finalised and certain

The NSW Government has finalised a number of planning reforms to help facilitate tourism activities on existing commercial farms, intended to increase their financial resilience to natural disasters and other adverse events.

The changes include a number of new exempt and complying development codes for certain ‘agritourism‘ developments, including farm stay accommodation, farm experiences and roadside stalls, as well as amendments to the Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order 2006 (Standard Instrument) to support the land uses.

Amendments to the Standard Instrument

Agritourism‘ will be defined in the Standard Instrument to mean:

  1. farm gate premises,
  2. farm experience premises.

Farm gate premises‘ have been defined as buildings or places on commercial farms that are ancillary to the farm and are used to provide visitors to the farm with agricultural products sourced predominantly from the farm. This will include cellar door premises.

Farm experience premises’ have been defined as buildings or places used to provide visitors to the farm with ‘small-scale and low-impact tourist or recreational activities‘, including horse riding, farm tours and functions or conferences.

The Standard Instrument is also being updated to include two optional provisions relating to both farm stay accommodation and farm gate premises, including development standards to ensure that the land is suitable for the proposed use, and that the development will not have significant adverse impacts on or near the land.

To support the above changes, the following land uses will be inserted to the land use table at Direction 5 of the Standard Instrument (which direction speciries the types of development that may be included in the Land Use Table)

  • Agritourism;
  • Farm experience premises;
  • Farm gate premises;
  • Primitive camping grounds;

Councils will need to consider the appropriate zones for each of these new land uses within their local government areas.

Exempt and Complying Development

Development for the following purposes that meet the relevant standards and land requirements will now be able to be carried out as exempt development, under theĀ State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP):

  • Rebuilding of farm buildings damaged by natural disasters
  • Farm experience premises
  • Farm gate premises
  • Farm stay accommodation
  • Roadside stalls
  • Agritourism signs

However, the majority of these will only be exempt development if they are being carried out on landholdings that are either within Zone RU1, RU2 RU4, or on which development for certain defined agricultural uses is permissible.

A new Agritourism and Farm Stay Accommodation Code (Agritourism Code) is also being added to the Codes SEPP, providing development standards for complying development for the following purposes:

  • Farm experience premises
  • Farm gate premises
  • Farm stay accommodation

Development specified for the Agritourism Code will only be able to be carried out if it meets the flood related controls at s 9.2 of the Codes SEPP, and will also be subject to mandatory conditions.

Further Amendments

To reduce biosecurity risks arising from the close proximity between certain kinds of intensive livestock agriculture, the State Environmental Planning Policy (Primary Production) 2021 is also being amended to increase (in order to qualify as development that may be carried out without consent) the distances, respectively, between poultry farms and between pig farm .

The amending legislation has been published on the NSW legislation website as follows:

The changes will commence on 1 December 2022.

If you would like to discuss this post, please contact Alex Rutherford or Stuart Simington.