Rural Opportunities and Land Use Strategy (ROLUS)

Ongoing consultation

Manning Valley vista

Our recent amalgamation provides an opportunity to re-think how Council plans for land use, conservation and development outside towns and villages, recognising the importance of rural and natural areas to the Local Government Area’s communities, and economies.

We recognise that very different approaches were taken in each of the former local government areas and that many of the relevant policies need to be updated to reflect more contemporary industry practices and community expectations.

The ROLUS is intended to provide a unified and relevant basis for planning in rural areas in the coming decades

MidCoast Council has engaged a team of consultants to prepare a Rural Opportunities and Land Use Strategy (“ROLUS”) to support ecologically sustainable development outside our towns and villages, throughout the MidCoast Local Government Area .

The ROLUS will be used as a basis for Council's future planning and in particular, to prepare and implement planning controls through a new MidCoast Local Environmental Plan (“LEP”) and Development Control Plan (“DCP”).

The ROLUS team is currently undertaking background research and consultation to establish an evidence base for the strategy.

The purpose of this stage of the project is to work with stakeholders to identify and collect relevant information (e.g. data sources) and consider the challenges or opportunities anticipated for development in rural areas in the coming decades.

Read the ROLUS Information flyer(PDF, 3MB)

Rural and natural lands are defining features of the MidCoast region.

These areas contain a diverse range of natural resources and amenities that underpin the lifestyle and livelihoods of local residents and are increasingly sought out by industries and visitors.

Sustainably managing the use of lands and resources outside towns and villages will provide a more prosperous future for all.

Several interests rely on, and sometimes compete for, the shared use of common rural and natural resources throughout the MidCoast.

Balancing competing interests to support the appropriate use of rural and natural resources is an important consideration for governments at all levels and part of our commitment to facilitate ecologically sustainable development through Council policies and practices.

The ROLUS is intended to consolidate relevant considerations for how land and resources located outside towns and villages are expected to be used and developed in the coming decades and establish a program of actions Council can take to facilitate the sustainable use of these assets. This is an important step in the ongoing amalgamation of the former Council areas, to provide a consistent and unified approach to:

  • Statutory planning controls, including the application of land use zonings and other development standards that influence where and how development occurs;

  • Policies, procedures or guidelines for development assessments, including what information should be included in applications, local benchmarks for best practice and information Council will use to monitor change and progress; and

  • Advocacy or partnership priorities for Council when working with Federal or State government agencies or private industries.

1) To establish a unified approach to applying land use zonings and development standards outside urban areas. This will assist Council to amalgamate its planning controls, which are currently set out in three separate Local Environmental Plans and Development Control Plans.

2) To provide locally-relevant guiding principles to support development and activities that are highly suited to rural and natural lands across the MidCoast. This will focus on the key sectors and sub-sectors identified through recent strategic economic development initiatives such as the MidCoast Regional Economic Development Strategy (NSW Government initiative), and Council’s Destination Management Plan (adopted in 2017).

3) Identify specific circumstances or locations where extra attention may be required to balance several competing environmental and development considerations.  This will refer to the agricultural industry maps currently being prepared by the NSW State Government for the beef, dairy, poultry, horticulture, and forestry sectors. It will also reflect the outcomes of a series of focus-group workshops to consider aquaculture and commercial fishing, rural and natural tourism, and other select industries expected to occur in rural and natural areas.    

The ROLUS is being prepared in five stages:

1) We’re currently scoping the project, collecting and relevant information to use as a basis for discussion (Phase 1).

2) We’ll formulate a draft strategy during Phase 2 by working one-to-one with key stakeholders and facilitating a series of focus group workshops. At the end of that stage we’ll prepare reports and other materials for public exhibition.

3) We'll review the information and input from phases 1 and 2 to prepare reports and other materials for public exhibition.

4) During Stage 4, we’ll publicly exhibit a draft ROLUS to canvas feedback from the broad MidCoast community

5) Based on the feedback, we’ll finalise the ROLUS for Council to adopt and begin implementing.


The guiding directions and principles set out in the ROLUS will apply when Council makes decisions about where and how development occurs outside towns and villages within the MidCoast Local Government Area.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • The preparation of a new MidCoast Local Environmental Plan and Decelopment Control Plan;

  • Determining Development Applications for development on rural properties;

  • Reviewing or preparing new Council policies, strategies, procedures, or guidelines; 

The ROLUS may also be used when Council works with Federal and State Governments or private-sector interests to facilitate investment in rural areas.