Online forms: Farmland Application

This form has a maximum of 13 pages

Important information to assist you in your application

How is land defined as Farmland? The following information is taken from the NSW Local Government Act, 1993. Council’s comply with Chapter 15 of the Act, that deals with how Council are financed, and, specifically under Sections 515 through 529, how a Council should administer application for Farmland Rates.

Categorisation as Farmland - Section 515 of the Local Government Act

  1. Land is to be categorized as farmland if it is a parcel of rate-able land valued as one assessment and its dominant use is for farming (that is, the business or industry of grazing, animal feedlots, dairying, pig farming, poultry farming, viticulture,  orchard,  bee-keeping,  horticulture, vegetable growing, the growing of crops of any kind, forestry or aquaculture within the meaning of the Fisheries Management Act 1994, or any combination of those businesses or industries) which:
  • has significant and substantial commercial purpose or character, and
  • Is engaged in for the purpose of profit on a continuous or repetitive basis (whether or not a profit is actually made)
  1. Land is not to be categorized as farmland if it is rural residential land.
  2. The regulations may prescribe circumstances in which land is or is not to be categorized as farmland.

Guidelines to determining factors for categorisation of land as farmland

Dominant Use:
Is determined by looking at the amount of land used for the particular activity and also the intensity of that use. Although merely because the greater part in area of a parcel of rateable land is used for farming does not necessarily mean that the dominant use of the land is for farming.

Business or Industry:
The activity or activities carried on must be carried out as a commercial venture organised for profit. The carrying on of a business implies repetition of acts with a somewhat permanent character.

In order to determine whether a business is being carried out, it should be acknowledged that:

  • The activity or activities carried out must be a business;
  • A small farming business is still a business;
  • An activity can be considered to be a business even though it is in an early stage
  • The fact that, for income tax purposes, the applicant is regarded as a primary producer has little or no significance for what is required to be decided by Council under Sec 515 of the Act.

Significant and Substantial Commercial Purpose or Character:

The activity or activities carried out must have a substantial degree of commercial purpose or character, that is, if the activities produce only small returns then they would be considered to be of a slight or minor character.

Purpose of Profit on Continuous of Repetitive Basis:

The farming activity must be on a sufficient scale as to have some element of independent viability and be engaged in for the purpose of profit on a continuous or repetitive basis (whether or not a profit is actually made).


Obligations upon Owners to Apply - Section 525(2):

The onus is on the rateable person (or their agent) to submit an application for change of category in the approved form.

Providing of Further Information (if required) - Section 525(4)

Council may notify the applicant of any further information it requires in order to be satisfied that the land is within that category. Council is not obligated to consider the declaration unless that information is provided.

Notification of the Applicant by Council of the Decision - Section 525(5)

The Council must notify the applicant of its decision. The Council must include the reasons for its decisions if it declares that the land is not within the category nominated in the application.

Appeal Against Declaration of a Category - Section 526(1)

A rateable person who is dissatisfied with the date on which declaration is specified to take effect or a declaration of a Council under Section 525, may appeal to: Council to review its decision and/or an appeal must be lodged within 30 days after the declaration is made to the Land and Environment Court.

Notification by the Owner to Council for a Change of Category - Section 524

A rateable person (or the person’s agent) must notify the Council within 30 days after change of use of the rateable land that would result in a change from one rateable category to another.