Livestock SA is very concerned at the proposal the Victorian Government has made to mandate the use of electronic tags in sheep and goats, and the impact it will have on producers and the movement of livestock between the two States. Livestock SA believes there will be an immediate impact in the South East of South Australia and Western Victoria saleyards, which will impact not only the regional economies in these areas, but the economy of both States. In SA there are good programs in place, such as abattoir surveillance, and it would be a retrograde step to move away from what currently works well. While the use of RFID tags can lead to productivity gains, Livestock SA believes it should not be mandatory.
Livestock SA welcomes the review of issues affecting the supply and taxation of labour performed by those on working holiday visas. It believes that backpackers should pay tax but the current rate of 32.5 per cent is too high, instead it supports NFF’s proposal of a tax rate of 19 per cent. Livestock SA also believes that the current changes that the Federal Government has made to working holiday visas in northern Australia should be extended to the pastoral zone of South Australia, so backpackers can be employed for up to 12 months by a single employer. It believes that the current rules, that restrict a backpacker to only six months with one employer mean the South Australian sector are at a disadvantage in comparison to pastoralists in the Northern Territory.
Livestock SA provided feedback to the Productivity Commission Draft Report on Regulation of Australian Agriculture. Responses were limited to only draft recommendations that were directly relevant to Livestock SA members, being sheep, beef cattle and goat producers. Recommendations covered land use, environmental regulations, farm welfare and transport.
Livestock SA responded to the South Australian Government’s Simpler Regulation Unit for input on removing outdated legislation. While Livestock SA is pleased with the intent of those dealing with land use, environmental regulations and transport, it has called for more to be done in relation to the management of native vegetation. It has also called for the State’s Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989 to be urgently reviewed. In particular, it has asked for the Act to be placed under the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, rather than where it currently sits under the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation.
The ACCC is conducting a market study of the cattle and beef sector. The purpose of the ACCC’s market study is to:
- Examine competition and transparency in the supply chain, and
- Consider whether there are impediments to competition and efficiency at various stages of the supply chain in cattle and beef markets.
The ACCC released an issues paper which provided detailed information on the scope of the study and information about how producers could participate. The issues paper and further information on the market study is available at www.accc.gov.au/cattlestudy
Livestock SA members were asked to provide input on 34 issues through an open call and their views were incorporated into Livestock SA’s submission.
Livestock SA responded to the South Australian Department for State Development’s call for input on skills shortages to inform which occupations should be listed for state-nominated skilled migration in 2016-17. The industry advice provided would supplement detailed workforce analysis by the department to determine the occupations in demand.
Livestock SA wrote to ten South Australian Federal MPs and Senators to express its concern about the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and the proposed minimum payments for contractor drivers. This included the risk that the price increases may force many smaller owner-operators out of the market, leading to fewer and more expensive options for movement of agricultural produce.
Livestock SA provided feedback to the District Council of Mount Barker on the proposed Rural (Primary Production Protection) Development Plan Amendment, which included recognition of ‘right to farm’ principles.
Livestock SA also wrote to Minister for Planning John Rau in April 2016 urging that the Mount Barker Amendment should be adopted by other local councils and incorporated into state legislaation.
Livestock SA has opposed the plans by NRM Boards to increase NRM land and water levies to recover costs from livestock producers. On behalf of members, Livestock SA has lodged submissions to each board during the call for feedback on their business cases.