It’s known as the home of the Big Banana, but Coffs Harbour is developing a reputation for blueberries — and the conflict between farming and urban development.
Newly appointed New South Wales Agriculture Commissioner Daryl Quinlivan said he had been instructed by Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall to review the State Government’s Right to Farm policy.
- New Agriculture Commissioner Daryl Quinlivan will review the State Government’s Right to Farm policy
- The Coffs Harbour blueberry industry has been highlighted due to conflicts over land use
- The Agriculture Minister wants to move towards resolving the debate over how to manage urban sprawl and primary industries
“Along the coastal strip here,
“The minister has asked me to look at that as one of the early priorities.”
Mr Quinlivan has held a number of senior roles related to agriculture and food trade.
From 2015 up until his new appointment he was secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
Mr Marshall said the goal of Mr Quinlivan’s Right to Farm review would be to resolve the tension over land use in the Coffs Harbour area.
“The North Coast is that ground zero for some of those modern day conflicts we have between traditional productive agriculture and urban sprawl, or other external infrastructure threats that we need to guard against,” Mr Marshall said.
“His wealth of experience will be critical in driving growth in our state’s $16 billion primary industries sector.”
‘A global problem’
The debate on how to manage urban sprawl and ongoing primary industries is not new, nor is it an argument that is specific to the Coffs Harbour region.
“This is a global problem; all developed countries in one form or another have this problem and they’re dealing with it at present,” Mr Quinlivan said.
“Local councils have to have a view to strong local economies, strong local employment, and at present the horticulture sector here is one of the main forces for those, so we’ve just got to find a way of of making the most of the situation,” he said.
“While not everybody can be happy we’ve got to find the optimal situation for all parties.”
Mr Quinlivan expects equally challenging talks in the energy sector, particularly off the back of the current debate around Santos’ coal seam gas project in Narrabri and opposition to solar farm and wind turbine projects.
“We have to find (a solution), because ongoing conflict with all of these developments is really not a tenable growth path for us as a national economy.”
“We need to find ways for those local communities to benefit generally, not just the individual landowners, and I think that somewhere along somewhere along that pathway is the solution to most of these problems.”
First published by The ABC – Coffs Coast Wednesday 5 August 2020. See; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-04/new-agriculture-commissioner-to-focus-on-coffs-blueberries/12521888