UNDER SCRUTINY: Blueberry cultivation has critics but is a growing export earner.
UNDER SCRUTINY: Blueberry cultivation has critics but is a growing export earner. Trevor Veale

Horticultural groups to monitor land use debate

IN response to growing community concerns about North Coast horticultural practises, three primary industry organisations have weighed into the debate.

The Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) joined forces with the Australian Macadamia Society and the Australian Blueberry Growers Association to raise an objection about the Nambucca Shire Council's proposed changes to the local land use planning laws.

The proposed change was in response to resident complaints about the increasing number of blueberries being grown in the Shire and the impact that was having on the local environment, the surrounding amenity of neighbours and property values.

The ABGC provided a submission to the Council opposing the proposed changes that would make all horticultural growers obtain approval before planting crops on land classified as Primary Production (RU1), Rural Landscape (RU2) or Large Lot Residential blocks (RU5).

After lengthy debate the Council has now decided to only require horticulture proposed for land classified as RU5 to be approved by Council.

The Coffs Coast blueberry picking season still has several weeks to go and earlier this month, key producer Costa's Berry Farm at Corindi was seeking to increase its workforce.

The People's Republic of China is seen as the leading future export growth partner for the industry.

The ABGC will continue to monitor this issue for this and other shire councils.



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