Key Issues

  • Agritourism activities can be divided into two categories:
    • Low impact – produce tastings, cooking classes, food/wine trails, farm tours, farm stays, farmers markets, farm field days, horse riding, self-picking and farm gate sales. These genuine farm-related activities are supported.
    • High impact – function centres, restaurants, and unrestricted camping and caravans on rural land. These activities are not farm-related and are not supported.
  • Under the planning provisions implemented in December, the Government made function centre buildings a form of Agriculture, so that they would automatically become a permissible use in rural areas in all council LEPs in NSW.
  • Under the guise of “reducing red tape”, the Government also removed any council and community involvement from the approval process by implementing “fast-track approval pathways” that provided exempt & complying status in the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) if the development adhered to prescribed ‘standards’.
  • The ‘standards’ allow individual buildings with a floor area up to 200sqm to be constructed for weddings and conferences, with a total maximum of 500sqm for all buildings, which can be just a few metres apart.
  • Councils have no resources to monitor compliance with the ‘standards’ meant to limit the unregulated construction of new buildings and the proliferation of camping and caravans.
  • The Planning Minister mandated that landholders can now “earn more income from their agritourism business than from primary production” despite NSW Farmers warning this would risk reducing and fragmenting the pool of agricultural land in NSW.


Proposed Amendments to Agritourism Planning Provisions

  • A new land useAgritourism Premises to replace farm experience premises and farm gate premises. It is not a sub-term of Agriculture.
  • Agritourism exempt and complying development to be removed from the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).
  • Agritourism provisions to apply only to farmers with genuine primary production farming activities.
  • Councils to determine where Agritourism premises should be permissible with consent in their LGAs (eg in RU1/ RU2 zones or in mapped areas).
  • Function centres are not a form of agritourism and will require a development application
  • Maximum floor area of buildings to not exceed 100sqm, including verandas.
  • Hours of operation and maximum visitor numbers to be included in council DCPs.


Schedule 1 – Amendment of Standard Instrument prescribed by Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order 2006

Land Use Table Direction 5
Omit – Agritourism; Farm experience premises; Farm gate premises;
Insert – Agritourism premises.

Clause 5.4 Controls relating to miscellaneous permissible uses
Insert “If development for the purposes of agritourism premises is permitted under this Plan, the gross floor area of the development, including verandas, must not exceed 100m2

       Agritourism Premises means a building or place –

  1. on a commercial farm, and
  2. ancillary to the farm, and
  3. used to provide visitors to the farm, on a commercial basis, with the following –
    • small-scale and low-impact tourist or recreational activities related to the agricultural use of the land, including the following, but not including motor sports, functions and conferences –
      1. horse riding,
      2. farm tours
      3. farm field days
    • agricultural products predominantly from the farm, supplemented by products from other farms in the region or with services or activities related to the products, including the following –
      1. processing, packaging and sale of the products, but not the processing of animals
      2. the preparation and serving, on a retail basis, of agricultural products from the farm to people for consumption on the premises or as take away meals,
      3. tastings, cooking classes or workshops,
      4. the provision of information or education related to the products.
    • agricultural products sourced from farms in the local area.