Can an Agricultural Enterprise Credit Scheme support farmers in Wollondilly

Warragamba Panorama

Can an Agricultural Enterprise Credit Scheme support farmers in Wollondilly

Posted on: 09.03.2017

The concept of an Agricultural Enterprise Scheme (AEC) will be considered by Wollondilly Shire Council as a tool to support local farmers and drive agricultural investment in Wollondilly. A first of its kind worldwide the production based scheme aims to encourage owners of non-productive peri-urban land to convert their land into food producing land. It will also provide farmers on existing productive land an incentive to further invest in their business. These farmers will earn saleable credits that will be held in a ‘bank’ where they can be purchased by developers to use to intensify already approved developments.

Modelled off the Sydney City Council’s Heritage Floor Space Scheme the scheme is flexible in its application and will allow Council to determine the source zones and the amount of credits a farmer receives for a given crop and can regulate developer’s actions when using credits by setting rates, target areas, and the degree of intensification.

Architect of the scheme, Ed Biel, states that “We need to have a more pro-active approach to supporting farmers because the provision of agricultural zoning alone will not ensure the ongoing sustainability of Sydney’s farmers.”

Mr Biel proposes that the scheme be rolled out to all peri-urban regions and will look to the University of Technology Sydney and Sydney Peri-Urban Network (SPUN) for support.

Ally Dench, Executive Director of Wollondilly Shire Council and Member of SPUN has said, “The Agricultural Enterprise Scheme is cutting edge and the first of its kind worldwide. Both Council and SPUN are supportive of this scheme, however when putting this scheme together we need to ensure that a number of factors are considered, one of these being legislative planning requirements.”

Council will assess the AEC scheme and put forward a recommendation to Councillors on its feasibility. The Rural Industry Liaison Committee will assist in the review and if the scheme is found to be feasible then Council will submit the proposal to the Annual Local Government Conference later in the year.