While agriculture remains Australia’s dominant land use, its share is declining. 1973 to 2017 saw a 14% decline in land used for food and fibre production, down from 500 million hectares to 394 million over that time period.
With Australia’s population predicted to reach 48 million in the next 50 years, it is imperative that land for food and fibre production remains viable, productive and at a scale needed to sustain Australia’s growing population. At a local, regional and national scale, changes in land use patterns, availability and regulations have the potential to significantly impact the expansion of Australia’s farm sector, particularly with competition from urban encroachment.
Productive land—be it urban, rural or regional—requires planning attention in its own right. A comprehensive and strategic approach to resource and land use planning is needed to appropriately value and prioritise agricultural production in planning decisions, particularly in development assessments and approvals.
The project examines various challenges that arise from the current land use planning frameworks to inform a more comprehensive discussion across Australian jurisdictions on best practice approaches that recognise the long term strategic value of agriculture. The aim being to inform future improvements to land use planning that caters for future food and fibre production.