By 2050, the global population is set to grow to 9 billion, 2 billion more than today. To feed, clothe and grow amenity for this increased population, the planet will have to produce more in the next four decades than all farmers in history have harvested over the past 8,000 years. While farmers in Australia are among the world’s best at growing produce for our nation and many more, feeding about 60 million people every year. To achieve this aim, it is critical that we preserve and sustainably intensify production on the nation’s limited prime agricultural land.
In Queensland, we continue to see the permanent loss of the best farm land in the state from manufacturing, industrial uses, urban sprawl, services, utilities, and mining. This encroachment impacts not only the amount of land available to carry out agricultural activities, but also those carrying out the activities with complaints directed at lawful agricultural operations increasing.
The Bunderberg Regional Council has sought to minimise the conflicts between agricultural operations and urban development and reduce these complaints and by incorporating agricultural buffer zones in its planning scheme. The adoption of a planning scheme policy on agricultural land buffers to minimise land use conflict in rural areas is something that the Queensland Farmers’ Federation has strongly supported. However, we have suggested the policy should specify the situations where a buffer will be required and ensure it not only applies on the current use of the rural zoned land but includes land that will potentially be used for productive agriculture into the future.
QFF strongly encourages other local governments to utilise this policy as a template follow Bundaberg’s lead. Additionally, we understand that regional Queensland offers a very desirable lifestyle, but we ask that new residents take ongoing farming operations into account when considering moving into, or if already living in, a rural community. It is clear that planning for agriculture is necessary to ensure the best agricultural land remains available for food, fibre, foliage production and Queensland farmers must have a “right to farm”.