Planning amendments for agriculture - Supporting the recovery and resilience of farm businesses and regional economies

The NSW Government is committed to improving the resilience of regional NSW and supporting economic recovery from impacts of COVID-19 and the 2019-20 bushfire

The department is proposing to simplify the planning process for small business activities and low-impact agricultural development on NSW farms.

We want to help landowners implement innovative activities on their farms, including agritourism, by simplifying areas of the planning system and streamlining approval pathways related to agriculture.

These changes will deliver on actions in regional plans to enable opportunities for sustainable tourism, particularly regarding agritourism.

Proposed changes

We will make it easier for farmers to establish new complementary businesses on their land, which includes:

  • supporting more farm stays by amending the existing definition of ‘farm stay accommodation’ in the Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order 2006 and introducing an optional clause councils can choose to adopt in their local plans to manage any impacts
  • enabling events on farms by introducing a new definition for ‘farm events’
  • facilitating farm gate businesses by introducing a new definition for ‘farm gate activities’ and an optional clause councils can choose to adopt in their local plans to manage any impacts
  • introducing fast-track approval pathways, known as exempt and complying development, for these types of agritourism, provided certain development standards are met
  • allowing other low impact agricultural activities as exempt or complying development such as small processing plants where certain development standards are met
  • making minor changes to existing planning controls to make them more effective, such as increasing the separation required for rural dwellings from intensive livestock agriculture, if carried out as complying development.


The proposed changes are detailed in an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) currently on public exhibition until 19 April 2021.

For more information about the proposed changes you can read the FAQs.

If you have any questions, please contact the department via our online form.

Read the EIE

How to submit your feedback

In keeping with NSW Health advice regarding social distancing, consultation on the proposed amendments will take place primarily online, making sure everyone has an opportunity to provide input.

You can have your say by:

Please have your say before 19 April 2021.

Make an online submission 

Councils can opt in

We are asking councils to consider whether to adopt the new optional clauses for farm stay accommodation and farm gate activities and identify the zones in which they wish to allow the new farm events and farm gate activities land uses.

Councils can submit their interest in making these changes to their LEP, under an amending State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), by opting in on the planning portal submission form

Once we have considered the feedback and finalised the changes, we propose to implement the changes in stages.

Stage 1 would include the following:

  • The existing definition of farm stay accommodation would be amended.
  • Farm stay accommodation would continue to be permissible where it is currently permitted under council local environmental plans (LEPs).
  • ‘Farm gate activities’ and ‘farm events’ would be introduced as a form of ‘agritourism’.
  • Agritourism would be included in the Standard Instrument LEP dictionary as a subset of the existing land use term ‘agriculture’.
  • The exempt and complying development pathways for agritourism would be available.
  • The changes relating to agriculture development, such as farm dams and farm infrastructure, would commence

Stage 2 would involve the department working with councils that have expressed an interest in making changes to their LEPs. The department will facilitate these changes through an amending SEPP, saving councils the time and resources required to progress individual planning proposals.

We welcome feedback on this proposed implementation approach.

Image banner: Family enjoying a campfire during sunset at a Fairview Off Grid camp site in Temora, NSW. Photo by Destination NSW


Old farm shed that could be converted for agritourism use.

Agritourism case studies

Agritourism case studies

Read our case studies and find out how the proposed changes will make it easier for farmers to establish new complementary businesses on their land.

Read the case studies
Aerial view of farm land. Photo by Ryan Spencer on Unsplash

Virtual ideas wall

Virtual ideas wall

Tell us what you think and help us understand what types of agritourism or other agricultural activity landowners are interested in developing on their property.

Go to the ideas wall
Friends enjoying a day fruit picking at Anderson Farm, Sackville North in the Hawkesbury Valley. Photo by Destination NSW

Agritourism survey

Agritourism survey

Help us refine the proposals in the Explanation of Intended Effect.