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Sydney's growth shifts local growers

Updated: 23/05/2010


Most of the Sydneys vegetable farms look set to disappear over the next 20 years as housing development expands.

THE body representing 10 western Sydney councils is concerned that expansion of the nations biggest city jeopardises crucial fresh food sources.

''The failure to take seriously the need for long-term agricultural land in the Sydney basin will have disastrous consequences for our food supply,'' Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils president Alison McLaren said.

''The federal government needs to realise that agriculture is not just the domain of rural areas.''

Urban Sprawl

State Government research estimates the Sydney basin grows about 15 per cent of all NSW vegetables and least 80 per cent of ''perishable'' vegetables worth between $800 million and a $1 billion annually,

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows more than 8500 people are employed in the Sydney industry.

These include Asian vegetables, capsicums and chillis, celery, parsley, basil, coriander, mushrooms and silverbeet.

But an internal NSW government analysis has predicted that two Sydney areas earmarked as growth centres to house 1 million more residents by 2036 will cause that production to plummet.

Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke acknowledged the importance of food being grown locally but would not answer questions about Sydney's farm land being rezoned. ''Most of the food eaten by people in Sydney already comes from all over the nation,'' Mr Burke said.

Source: Debra Jopson - The Land, 17 May 2010


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