On 1 December 2022, the NSW Government made changes to planning rules to make it easier for farmers to use their land for agritourism businesses. The agritourism reforms introduce new land use definitions for on-farm activities that can be undertaken as exempt and complying development if they meet specified development standards.
To use your farm for agritourism, such as farm stay accommodation (including camping), farm experiences or farm gate sales, certain criteria must be met. It is important you familiarise yourself with all these criteria before you commence any agritourism activities, further details are on the NSW government website.
Some of these criteria include, but are not limited to:
- The agritourism reforms only apply to commercial farms. The commercial farm must be a primary production business where agriculture is undertaken. The agritourism reforms do not apply to all Rural zoned land
- Any agritourism activities must be of secondary nature to farming operations and not become the main use of the land
- A minimum landholding of 15 hectares is required for the use of caravans and camping
- Minimum separation distances are required between agritourism activities and neighbouring land, waterways, and neighbouring dwellings
- Various limits on visitor numbers, hours of operation, length of stays, size of buildings etc. are prescribed
- Vehicular access to any accommodation (including campsites) must not be directly from a Freeway or Highway and must comply with relevant safety requirements for driveways; and
- Any waste must be disposed of via a council sewer connection, in a council approved on-site sewage management system (septic system) or taken to an off-site waste management facility. In the case of using an existing on-site septic system, an additional council approval will be required to ensure it is sufficient to meet any additional load from visitors.
If a proposed agritourism activity does not meet the standards for exempt or complying development, then a Development Application (DA) will be required. Please contact us about lodging a DA
If you have any questions about how the agritourism reforms apply to your proposed development, it is recommended you contact the Department of Planning and Environment.
There are also existing requirements related to the use of caravans and tents on properties if the new provisions relating to agritourism do not apply to your property. Council’s Temporary Accommodation Factsheet that outlines these requirements can be downloaded here.
It is also important to remember that any lawful commercial farming operations on land adjacent to that used for agritourism purposes can continue, regardless of whether this may be considered ‘unpleasant’ by those visitors seeking the peace and quiet of a rural environment. Dust, noise and odour generated by machinery and or livestock are commonplace on working farms and the NSW Government’s Right to Farm Policy is in place to protect primary producers from nuisance complaints about their lawful farming operations.
If you have any queries in relation to the use of farms for agritourism, please visit the Department of Planning and Environment website, which includes an information sheet and Frequently Asked Questions.
If you still have questions after visiting the website, it is recommended you Contact the Department of Planning and Environment on 1300 420 596 (select Option 2) and ask to speak with the Housing and Economic Policy section or email firstname.lastname@example.org