Australian First Agricultural Enterprise Credit Scheme to benefit Wollondilly Farmers

Australian First Agricultural Enterprise Credit Scheme to benefit Wollondilly Farmers

Posted on: 16.12.2019

In an Australian first, Wollondilly Council will on Monday consider establishing a market based Agriculture Enterprise Scheme that will provide a reward for food production for farmers in the Wollondilly area.

The idea of the scheme is to protect agricultural land and encourage food production by a market-based credit scheme through the review of Council’s Voluntary Planning Agreement policy.

Research which was conducted in partnership with the Rural Industry Liaison Committee and the Institute for Sustainable Futures recommends the next steps required for the development and implementation of the project.

Mayor Matthew Deeth said, “The Agricultural Enterprise Credit Scheme aims to recognise what the farming community contributes to our lifestyle and identity in Wollondilly.”

“It’s about making farming more competitive while providing access to food for the Sydney basin.”

“Food production based in Wollondilly has other benefits to the community, such as less reliance on global food systems, less transport and wastage, and the potential for less greenhouse emissions.”

“Unlike land that is used for housing development, these things have not been given an economic value in the past,” he said.

Currently, agricultural activity on the fringes of Sydney is facing the pressure of increased urban encroachment, reduced numbers of producers and the lack of acknowledgement of the value of farming in the Sydney basin.

Mayor Deeth noted, “It is envisaged the Agricultural Enterprise Credit Scheme will be a mechanism to balance the housing needs of a growing population against its need for readily accessible food.”

Most farmers interviewed during the research had been operating in the area for decades, some for generations. Most were predominantly family farms where planning for the next generation to enter the farm was critical to their desire to continue farming activities in Wollondilly.

If the findings of the report are supported at Monday night’s meeting, Council will also advocate for the NSW Government to look to introduce the scheme across NSW.