Why does the Tweed need a Rural Land Strategy?

The need for a rural land strategy for the Tweed has been well documented over the past decade and was highlighted in a Rural Land Use Study prepared by the Tweed Economic Development Corporation in 2002.  The vision for that study was to “manage the growth so the Shire's rural resources are enhanced in terms of their economic, social and ecological values”.  Those values remain relevant today.

Rural land use in the Tweed has changed dramatically during the past 10 years, with continual pressure to change land uses and develop rural land.  The Rural Land Strategy will establish a contemporary policy to guide the use and development of rural land, balancing the land’s inherent capacity and suitability for specific uses, while considering economic, social, ecological and political considerations.

Rural land in the Tweed serves a range of functions and values including farming, protection of the environment, tourism, rural industries and rural housing. However, over recent decades there has been a noticeable transition in how this land is being used.

The Rural Land Strategy will look at these changes and their impact on traditional farming, rural communities and associated industries, and develop a strategy for the future of rural land in the Tweed .

How is rural land defined?

‘Rural lands’ has specific definitions under the Local Government Act 1993, Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, and Foreign Investment Review Board. For the purposes of this strategy, rural land is generally defined as:

"All land that is not urban or Crown land (National Parks, State Forests and reserved land) or land which is wholly or mainly used for, or for the time being is used for, or has the potential to be used for, primary production.


Primary production may include one or more of the businesses or industries of grazing, animal feedlots, dairying, pig-farming, poultry farming, viticulture, orcharding, bee-keeping, horticulture, vegetable growing, the growing of crops of any kind, forestry, or aquaculture. Typically, rural land is split into land related to primary production and land related to environmental protection or management."

Investigations and reporting for the strategy will be focused predominantly on land currently zoned RU1 Primary Production, RU2 Rural Landscape, R5 Large Lot Residential, RU5 Rural Village, 7(a) Environmental Protection (Wetlands and Littoral Rainforest), 7(d) Environmental Protection (Scenic/Escarpment), 7(f) Environmental Protection (Coastal Lands), and 7(l) Environmental Protection (Habitat) zones under Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014.

How will the strategy be prepared?

The Rural Land Strategy will be prepared using a four stage process:


Stage 1

Collate information on rural land and land uses in a Resource Inventory and prepare a Land Capability Assessment of all rural land in the Tweed.


Stage 2

Prepare an Issues Analysis paper to:

  • Provide an understanding of how and why rural land uses have changed; and
  • Start consideration of community attitudes, expectations and concerns.

Stage 3

Build on the information from Stages 1 and 2 to develop a Land Suitability and Options Paper that will:

  • Investigate opportunities to develop a sustainable rural industry in the Tweed;
  • Investigate alternatives to current land uses; and
  • Present strategies for adapting and managing change.

Stage 4

Develop a Rural Land Strategy and recommendations for its implementation.

Who is preparing the strategy?

The Rural Land Strategy is being prepared by consultants, under the supervision of officers from Council’s Planning Reform Unit:

  • Stages 1 and 2: EnPlan Partners with Urban Enterprise
  • Stages 3 and 4: GHD

Is this a strategy for rural residential development?

The Rural Land Strategy is not a rural residential strategy.  

Rather, it represents a detailed, objective assessment of rural land, its inherent capability and potential suitability. This is the necessary first step in identifying land that might be suitable for alternative rural uses.

While the strategy will identify land with marginal rural, agricultural or horticultural value that might be suitable for alternative land uses (which might include ‘rural living and business’ opportunities), it does not aim

  • diminish the right to farm;
  • alienate or fragment agricultural land; or
  • increase the demand for provision of social and urban infrastructure that is not self-sustaining.

The Rural Land Strategy will investigate the relationship between lot size, land capability and suitability as they relate to current and potential future rural land uses.  It will not make specific recommendations about dwelling entitlements.

What changes were proposed by councillor(s) in the re-exhibition in 2019?

A total of 25 changes have been proposed by councillor(s); and can be broadly categorised into three as per below:

Editorial changes not likely to significantly change the action: These changes help to clarify the intent of the action, or seek to re prioritise the action.
See proposed amendments 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 25.

Changes to the intent of the action: These changes seek to change the action by proposing further investigations prior to determining whether to proceed with the action.
See proposed amendments 1, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15.

Deletion of actions: These proposed amendments remove actions from the Strategy. Most/all of these deleted actions were related to fulfilling Policy Direction 5 Greater diversity of rural housing.
See proposed amendments 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.


Where can I find more information?

For further information, please contact Council’s Planning Reform Unit on (02) 6670 2503.