Independent Agriculture Commissioner and planning changes to protect the right to farm.

The Nationals in Government will create a powerful new rural advocate through an Independent Agriculture Commissioner to protect the right to farm in NSW.

Increased urbanisation means that some of our efficient production practices are now under threat from people who complain about farming noises and smells. These complaints end up in court where well-funded activists use legal tactics to drag out the process, making it unaffordable and unworkable for hardworking farmers, agricultural processors, fishers and foresters to do their job.

The Commissioner will work with the Chief Planner to strengthen standard planning and zoning instruments and review local strategic plans to protect Right to Farm principles, in recognition of the contribution farming makes to local jobs and the broader economy.

Three key areas will be priority; reforming planning and zoning to strengthen the platform for farmers in land-use conflicts, supporting the dairy sector and addressing the recent attack on the industry by ‘Aussie Farms’ group. For the dairy industry, we will do all we can in NSW to support the increasing challenges dairy farmers face in the processing and retail sector, including the adoption of a mandatory code of conduct.

The Commissioner will have all the necessary legislative or regulatory tools to protect the Right to Farm and we will work with key stakeholders including NSW Farmers and Local Government NSW to develop these tools and implement changes.

History shows that Labor cannot be trusted to stand up for farmers. Labor has opposed each piece of farmer-friendly legislation put forward by the Nationals including the Biosecurity bills and the Crown Lands Management Bill.

As our farmers battle one of the worst droughts on record, the last thing we want is for them to have to worry about fending off nuisance claims from activists, ‘tree changers’ and ad-hoc rule changes by local councils.

The NSW Nationals will support farmers, fishers and foresters when their rights are being questioned – we are standing up for farmers.

The Nationals in Government will:

• Create a new Independent Agriculture Commissioner, with legislated powers to protect the Right to Farm in NSW.
• Address attacks on farming families such as that by Aussie Farms.
• Work to resolve the increasing challenges dairy farmers face in the processing and retail sector, including overseeing the adoption of a national mandatory code of conduct for the industry.
• Work with farming groups and local government to protect the rights of farmers at every level of planning and government.