Livestock SA was involved with several Draft Pastoral Lands Bill consultation meetings to discuss the proposed new Pastoral Lands Act. The draft Bill is a vast improvement on the existing Act and Livestock SA generally supports the proposed changes. There are still areas of concern which need to be addressed. There is a need for adequate funding to resource the pastoral unit to ensure its capability to effectively manage the proposed changes to the Bill. Pastoralists cannot be expected to be entirely responsible for funding all activities in the pastoral region. There is considerable concern about losing maximum stocking rates as they are used by financially institutions to assess the capacity of a leaseholder to repay loans and used to set water allocations. There is an ongoing need for the management of feral and over-abundant native animals. There also needs to be emphasis on the importance of livestock biosecurity. Goats need to be added to the Bill as they are an income opportunity for pastoralists and the Bill has an economic development focus.
Livestock SA has made a submission to the SA Electoral Boundaries Commission expressing disappointment about the draft boundaries in relation to the pastoral region. Not only has Port Augusta been split into the two electoral districts of Giles and Stuart, but the way the boundaries are now drawn, Giles will be centred on Whyalla and Stuart on Port Pirie. Neither of these towns have any relationship with South Australia’s pastoral community. The Commission is asked to consider how the boundaries can be redrawn.
Livestock SA organised two emergency fodder depots for both the Cudlee Creek (Oakbank Racecourse) and Kangaroo Island (Cape Jervis) fires.
Livestock SA in partnership with SA government and a mountain of volunteers and donors managed to deliver 2,200 tonnes of hay to Kangaroo Island, 1,250 tonnes of hay through Oakbank depot and 450 tonnes to those affected by the Keilira fire.
The Government of South Australia wants to work side by side with producers to increase the productivity and profitability of producers and grow the state’s cattle herd and sheep flock. This is the premise at the heart of the Red Meat and Wool Growth Program.
The Red Meat and Wool Growth program provides a strong pathway for the industry to become more resilient and forward looking with the focus on technology adoption, strategic skill development and enhancing biosecurity.
Recently two important initiatives of the Red Meat and Wool Growth Program have commenced.
Livestock SA would like to relate to the Economic and Finance Committee’s Inquiry in relation to livestock producers and the recent challenges regarding COVID-19. The disruptions to livestock production and its supply chain in South Australia have been minimal as agriculture has been classified as an essential industry. There have been some difficulties regarding border restrictions. Livestock SA worked with PIRSA and other State Government Departments to ensure livestock producers stayed up to date and informed on the situation. Livestock SA is supporting the National Farmers’ Federation’s please to the National Cabinet to develop a clear and consistent national Agricultural Worker Movement Code. Availability of labour is important to ensure agriculture can continue to progress and thrive.
Livestock SA strongly endorses the submission made by Grain Producers SA, particularly regarding the policy principles and the recommendations on the draft regulations. Pastoralists are often impacted by mining exploration and associated activities. While they do not own the land they operate on, they do invest considerable funds and should be treated as landowner. Good livestock biosecurity practices are essential to minimize risk of disease or pest incursion on properties. Livestock SA believes mining companies need to maintain strict ‘come clean, go clean’ policies and stick to dedicated tracks within a property to minimize introduction and spread of pest, weed and disease. Livestock SA now has two Biosecurity Extension Officers who are willing to work with the mining sector on biosecurity practices and procedures. Mining companies access to property owned water infrastructure and natural water courses at the landowner’s expense is also unacceptable and consideration needs to be given to preparing procedures for this access.
Livestock SA is involved with and has representatives on the South Australian Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Committee and has recently established, along with South Australian Dairyfarmers Association, a Biosecurity, Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Committee (BAHWAC). Livestock SA also endorses the new policy making pain relief mandatory for sheep mulesing. In our recent Livestock SA members survey, 96 per cent of respondents were in favour of making pain relief for mulesing mandatory. Livestock SA was also involved in creation of the South Australian Animal Welfare Standards for Sheep and Cattle and has an interest in the outcomes of the current proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Regulations 2020.
Livestock SA was recently involved in the stakeholder consultation regarding the review of agvet chemicals regulatory framework.
- Stakeholders were generally supportive of using overseas data to enable Australia to have increased access to niche chemical products which are not available here
- There was concern over the removal of efficacy as an assessment criterion due to potential impacts on animal welfare and biosecurity
- Stakeholders highlighted the high cost of retaining accreditation and how this may impact willingness to become/stay accredited
- It would be beneficial to have greater clarity relating to emergency permits and the criteria for use
- Upfront feed for registration may act as a deterrent
- Stakeholders agreed on national harmonisation of control of use in relation to registered veterinarians’ ability to supply restricted medicines to other veterinarians
- Residue testing of produce needs to increase
Livestock SA welcomes the opportunity to comment of the proposed amendments to the Animal Welfare Regulations 2012. Livestock SA supports the amendment to exclude livestock from the prohibition on the use of electronic confinement devices. Virtual fencing technology relies on the use of electronic tags and collars and has environmental and animal welfare benefits. Livestock SA supports the amendment to discontinue the use of a lethal toxin in wild dog traps if the traps are checked at least every 24 hours and any wild dog or dingo is humanely destroyed. This ensures producers minimise the suffering of wild dog as well as reducing the risk of damage to livestock and native animals. Livestock SA also supports the removal of the requirement for a rubber-jawed leg-hold trap to be only set inside the Dog fence and 100 metres outside the dog fence. Producers outside the fence must be given access to the same wild dog control measures to those inside the fence.
Livestock SA welcomes the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to the Training and Skills Development Act 2008. The aim of the Bill is to help develop a more responsive training system for apprenticeships and traineeships. For agriculture, this is necessary to attract more employees to work in the industry. Often agriculture is overlooked when apprenticeships and traineeships are considered however, with an aging workforce, there is now a need to quickly and readily obtain new staff in the industry who can work with agtech. Livestock SA are looking forward to working in partnership with government so there are flexible industry-endorsed approaches to training and skills development.