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Orchard Netting Exempt from Planning Approval
As at 8 April 2018, South Australian growers will no longer be required to seek development plan consent to protect their horticulture crops with permanent nets.
As part of “Simplify Day 2017”, the Apple and Pear Growers Association of South Australia asked for “an exemption from planning approvals” in relation to orchard netting. In response, Simpler Regulation Unit engaged with industry and government authorities to develop the conditions for an exemption regime (see information sheet).
The horticulture industry is an important sector for South Australia, worth $885.6 million at the farm gate, consisting of 3,500 small to medium sized businesses, employing 13,500 permanent staff and an additional 24,000 seasonal staff.
The installation of netting over commercial plantation is a growing requirement of modern horticulture production. Damage from hail, sun and wind burn, pest birds, an exploding population of fruit bats, etc. is more devastating to crops than it used to be and affects yields and quality control. It is also increasingly required by breeders of new fruit varieties and provides added benefits including water savings, reduction of frost prevalence, soil erosion, etc.
The recent October 2017 storm impacted 85% of orchards in the Adelaide Hills with an estimated crop loss of $32M, with data showing that under nets, less than 17% of fruits were affected. Those impacts affect the whole community with less fruit to pick and pack, and large drops in agriculture’s income.
This amendment creates a more supportive regulatory framework and competitive business environment for the horticulture industry, addressing the changing needs of businesses, and generating the jobs of the future.
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