A BIG step in the right direction.
That is how Byron Shire farmers have described a move by the State Government to allow farmers and other existing landholders to carry on their businesses under proposed changes to zoning laws contained in draft council Local Environment Plans (LEPs).
The Byron Shire Rural Landholders Action Group has applauded the State Government for its support on the zoning proposals.
In a meeting with Ballina MP Don Page last week, the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure NSW Brad Hazzard said the Government would not stop farmers and other existing landowners from carrying on their businesses through overly restrictive environmental zones.
He said the State Government would not endorse the use of E2 and E3 environmental zones on land that was clearly rural in council LEPs on the Far North Coast.
Mr Page said the proposed zones and overlays had the potential to limit existing agricultural and other rural issues without a valid evidence base.
He said there were very strong concerns that these restrictive controls could reduce the value of existing properties.
A public meeting held in Bangalow earlier this month drew hundreds of concerned landowners.
"Since our last public meeting, hundreds of complaints have been received by local and state politicians on this issue," local farmers Rex Harris, Alli Page and Louise Savrda said
"It just goes to show what people can achieve if they come together and support their community," they said.
"The fight is not over yet.
"We still have a lot of work to do and all landholders need to remain active and review and respond to the Draft LEP."