The Rural Lands Strategy planning proposal has been a hot topic of late for some in our community. The planning proposal will allow Council to implement the Rural Lands Strategy, adopted in 2016 after significant work with the community. That work over many years has resulted in a balanced strategy that recommends the preservation of larger and good quality grazing and dairy lands as well as water catchment areas by allowing little or no subdivision in these areas. Across 38,000 hectares of rural lands, it allows for just 255 potential dwellings, generally on land with cleared areas and in areas where there are already homes.
It takes the natural environment into consideration, for instance, protecting areas with high value vegetation and soils, while also providing opportunities for small scale agriculture, important for our food economy and for tourism.
To those concerned about objections from some NSW Government agencies, I can assure you these matters have been addressed in the planning proposal. You can read Council’s detailed responses in presentations available on our website.
Most importantly, the NSW Government has approved the Rural Lands Strategy having heard the same matters from its agencies. All the environmental protection controls of the NSW Government will continue to apply, including bushfire risk assessments, and will be addressed during the DA process if and when land owners decide to subdivide or build a home on their rural block.
There is no greater potential for clearing for agricultural purposes as a result of the planning proposal than exists now under the 1987 Local Environment Plan, and land clearing will continue to be controlled by NSW Local Land Services.
Council has listened to and considered all the views on this matter, since 2012 in fact. There’s a timeline on our website that outlines all the community engagement that has brought us to this point. It’s time our rural landowners had some certainty. The planning proposal comes to the Council meeting next Tuesday.