At Livestock SA’s recent Annual General Meeting, concerns were expressed about the possibility of further using flows from the South East to assist towards trying to maintain the long-term ecological health and resilience of the Coorong. There are fears from landowners and others in the South East that there may be further widening of drains to achieve this, with depletion of water for livestock and other uses. It is important that if this option is developed the South East community is consulted and kept fully informed throughout the process.
As South Australia’s pastoral region and many parts of the rest of the State are in drought, Livestock SA welcomes the proposed changes to the Farm Household Allowance. Livestock SA’s submission discusses the increase of the offset amount, as the ability to offset off-farm income against debt servicing is extremely useful and raising it brings the offset more in line with real debt situations. It also discusses extending the scope of the FHA program, which means that the availability of support is more likely to be able to be linked to actual seasonal conditions at any time rather than being a once off event. As farmers come out of a drought, the biggest problem they will face is the availability of capital. By adding in lump sum payments, the impact of the drought situation on farming families can be reduced.
The state government has set an objective to lift the sustainable economic growth rate in South Australia to an average of three percent per year. The food, wine and agribusiness sector is one of nine priority sectors that have been identified for growth. Livestock SA is pleased to be participating in further developing these sectors in line with this growth agenda. As a major initiative, Livestock SA has worked with the entire value chain to develop both a South Australian Sheep Industry Blueprint and a South Australian Cattle Industry Blueprint. To further assist in expanding the State’s sheep industry, the SA dog fence is being rebuilt. There are several other aspects Livestock SA believe the State Government needs to consider to increase growth of the sector. These include allowing the farming of rangeland feral goats on pastoral leases, the expansion of the kangaroo meat industry and commercialising of kangaroo products, improvements in the State’s planning processes, security of water supplies for livestock, agricultural safety from mining interests, good transport networks, better online accessibility and increases in R&D.
Livestock SA welcomes the Federal Parliament’s Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources inquiry into how to expand Australia’s agriculture, with reference to the importance of the South Australian Sheep and Beef Industry Blueprints that Livestock SA has developed. Livestock SA’s submission discusses the State Government funding towards the development of a red meat and wool industry growth program, a grant towards the development of the South Australian Beef Cattle Industry Blueprint and the rebuild of the SA Dog Fence. It also references the areas of interest Livestock SA will discuss in the South Australian inquiry including farming of rangeland feral goats, expansion of the kangaroo meat industry, security of water supplies for livestock, and land management strategies.
The draft report from the Productivity Commission on Remote Area Tax Concessions and Payments, which proposes to abolish the zone tax offset, was an area of importance for Livestock SA this month. The zone tax offset is designed to compensate residents for uncongenial climate conditions, isolation and the higher cost of living. Livestock SA’s submission to the commissioner discusses adjusting the boundaries and increasing the payment rates, rather than abolishing the zone tax offset altogether, with hopes of retaining workers and their services in remote areas. The Productivity Commission’s recommendation of tightening of fringe benefits tax remote area concessions is also discussed.
Livestock SA acknowledges the steps being taken by government regarding the issue of farm trespass and the proposed amendments to the Summary Offences Act. Livestock SA’s submission mentions the impact of the Aussie Farms animal activist website, which advocated for trespass onto farming land, and the concern Livestock SA has for the rights of landholders regarding their protection under the current trespass laws in South Australia. Livestock SA also referred to the South Australian Dairyfarmers’ Association (SADA) and its notion of banning notices issued by farmers against trespassers, restricting them for a period up to two years in duration.
Since the announcement of the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989 review Livestock SA has had the opportunity to canvas many of our affected members and there are a number of matters which this submission seeks to touch on including tenure, impact of legislation, the nature of stock, lease review systems, Aboriginal issues and the structure and nature of the Pastoral Board itself. Invariably legislation, policy, regulation and execution of policy intersect. This submission has endeavoured to restrain itself to the matters of the legislation, however, from time to time where it is impossible to separate legislation from policy and execution, Livestock SA has made comment. These areas relate to issues like movement on public access routes, funding of the Pastoral Lands Unit and compliance, or lack of it, of the existing act by the South Australian Government.
Livestock SA is very pleased that the State Government proposes to lift the moratorium on growing GM food crops in all parts of mainland South Australia, it is disappointing that it is also proposed that the moratorium will remain on Kangaroo Island. While we acknowledge the strong sentiments of some Kangaroo Island producers, we are aware that once the moratorium is removed on the mainland, even canola growers on Kangaroo Island will be watching what happens to any premium for GM-free canola.
Livestock SA welcomes and supports the proposed amendments to the South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022. The proposal comes after renewed calls from industry to provide additional flexibility in kangaroo management across SA. The proposed changes are a positive step in kangaroo management. Livestock SA has strongly lobbied for the commercial harvesting areas to be increased to ensure harvesting can occur in all areas where kangaroo populations have increased significantly. Since 2011 kangaroo numbers have increased across the State, doubling from an estimated 2.5 million to more than 5 million. This large rise in kangaroo populations has impacted hugely on producers, as well as at an environmental level, with increased numbers placing significant grazing pressure on properties.
Livestock SA is pleased at the commitment to develop a 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy. It is rare for such a long-term period to be considered, but in planning infrastructure a 20- year framework is much more realistic than the usual three or five years. It is noted that in the Discussion Paper that seven infrastructure sectors are identified. Of these, transport, utilities and digital infrastructure are all required for the future of the livestock industries in this State.