NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Primary production and rural development

New contemporary planning framework

A new planning framework for primary production and rural development has commenced on 28 February 2019.

The new framework simplifies the NSW planning system by consolidating, updating and repealing provisions in five former agriculture-themed SEPPs. It supports NSW’s agricultural sector, which is a major contributor to the success of the NSW economy, providing exports and jobs.

The new framework:

  • removes unnecessary regulation to support small scale operators and encourage investment in primary production
  • assists in delivering NSW Government commitments in support of current and future farming practices, support during times of hardship, and management of land use conflict
  • supports primary industry and rural communities by making it easy to find and understand local planning provisions
  • supports sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and rural development by ensuring that appropriate levels of assessment are required in sensitive locations.

It includes:

  1. a new Primary Production and Rural Development SEPP
  2. amendments to the Standard Instrument - Principal Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and consequential amendments to non-standard LEPs
  3. amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000
  4. an enhanced Ministerial Direction 1.5 - Rural Lands
  5. new Planning Guidelines - Intensive Livestock Agriculture Development. (PDF, 1.5 MB)

As a consequence, the following SEPPs have been repealed:

  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Rural Lands) 2008 (Rural Lands SEPP)
  • State Environmental Planning Policy 30 - Intensive Agriculture (SEPP 30)
  • State Environmental Planning Policy 52 - Farm Dams and Other Works in Land and Water Management Plan Areas (SEPP 52)
  • State Environmental Planning Policy 62 - Sustainable Aquaculture (SEPP 62).

The Department formally consulted on these changes between 23 October 2017 and 15 January 2018 and listened to feedback from a wide range of stakeholders. Find out more details regarding the consultation process.

Planning Connects webinar

In July 2019, the Department held a webinar to talk through the new planning framework for primary production and rural development.

The webinar explains:

  • the recently implemented package of reforms and identifies the key highlights of the policy improvements
  • the consultation process with the community and industry
  • how to navigate the features of the new policy structure

Watch the webinar recording

Fact sheet on temporary arrangements

The framework gives farmers flexibility to undertake necessary farm management operations to intensively hold, feed and water livestock temporarily during or immediately following drought, flood, fire or other emergency events without the need for development consent from their local council.

The department has prepared a fact sheet in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to address key questions about temporary arrangements for drought and other emergency events.

Supporting the NSW Right to Farm Policy

The package of reforms also considered key policy and planning initiatives that are directly relevant to the future of rural land use and the agricultural sector, including the NSW Right to Farm Policy, Regional Plan and industry development strategies.

The framework introduces updated rural planning and subdivision principles into Ministerial Direction 1.5 – Rural Lands. These principles aim to achieve a balance between rural needs, including farming, and development, and to reduce the risk of land use conflict and rural land fragmentation.

The Ministerial Direction now also applies to the Central Coast, Wollondilly and Hawkesbury local government areas, as these areas contain extensive rural and peri-urban lands that deserve careful strategic consideration.

More information 

  • For further information phone 1300 305 695.
  • If you require translation assistance, please call 131 450.

You can also subscribe to the department newsletter for regular updates from the department.

Page last updated: 02/02/2023