Agricultural land must be protected from urban sprawl | My Machinery
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Agricultural land must be protected from urban sprawl

Melbourne’s urban growth boundary must be locked into legislation, says Victoria’s peak farm lobby. Victorian Farmers Federation president Peter Tuohey said a government proposal to establish a “permanent” Urban Growth Boundary around Melbourne had to be rock solid. “Too often we’ve seen governments cave into pressure from developers to expand Melbourne’s boundary, without considering the costs,” Mr Tuohey said. “We need a boundary for Melbourne that’s enshrined in legislation, which means it can’t be changed without the support of both houses of Parliament.” “Melbourne needs to stop growing out and start growing up. We need to look at the other side of the boundary- regional Victoria – where government’s need to invest in growth. “As it stands, recent changes to the UGB have created enough land to meet Melbourne’s needs for the next 20 years. This in turn has created problems for farmers within the boundary. “We have farmers with land in the UGB which is worth a lot ‘in theory’, but they may not see a developer knocking at their door for 20 years. In the meantime they’re paying exorbitant rates, may face land tax issues and even have councils withdrawing their reduced farm rate differentials.” The Planning Minister has also proposed establishing a new Agricultural Production Overlay, which the VFF has cautiously welcomed. “An agricultural production overlay seems like a good idea, but we obviously need to see more detail,” Mr Tuohey said. “In principle, it’s a good idea. But it has to do more than protect farmland. “To be truly effective the overlay will need to enshrine a right to farm to allow farmers to farm profitably as well as sustainably.”

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