July Newsletter: President’s Report
ONE OF the good news stories of the year so far has been the reduction in water costs from July 1 for livestock producers reliant on water delivered through SA Water’s infrastructure network. Equivalent to an average saving of $1350 per year, Livestock SA welcomed this news given members had been calling for changes to water pricing since 2013.
The reduction means water costs are no longer a reason to force livestock producers to reduce livestock numbers, so this is great news for their businesses and, in turn, for the state’s economy.
This is also a great example of how Livestock SA works on behalf of producers. Livestock SA has provided and contributed submissions to successive State Governments and the Essential Services Commission of South Australia outlining the case for a reduction in water prices. We believed that SA Water’s regulated asset base was over-valued and inflating water prices and, hence, provided input to submissions for the SA Water Pricing Inquiry. This is exactly why Livestock SA exists, to undertake this detailed kind of policy and review work, and we’re pleased with the success on this occasion.
In other positive news, the announcement of plans to seal the first 50km of the Strzelecki Track is very welcome. The track is such an important route for pastoralists, not to mention miners and tourists, and upgrades are long overdue. While this first step is welcome, the track is 473km in total and is considered one of the worst roads in Australia. Hence, we hope that, in time, governments both state and federal will upgrade its full length.
For the sheep industry, the $25 million rebuilding of the 1500km Dog Fence is being very keenly observed. The first stage – a 11km stretch adjacent to Erudina Station and Curnamona Station – is nearing completion and the process to date will be reviewed. This will assess the rebuild construction, materials and any improvements that can be made for subsequent work. The rebuild team will consider recommendations and meet before starting the next section.
In other topics:
- The SA Government’s new Landscape Boards have been announced. Livestock SA congratulates those who have been appointed, including vice president Penny Schulz to the Limestone Coast board. There’s a range of new skills and experiences which will now be contributing to natural resource management and we look forward to working across the regions, highlighting issues that are important to our members.
- Livestock SA welcomed the announcement regarding university fee reform which will cut the cost of agriculture-related degrees by 62 per cent next year. This sends a clear message that we need more students coming into the industry and is a move which will help industry development and support regional and remote businesses. Given the importance of vocational agriculture training in SA, we would like to see this extended to TAFE. Courses such as the Certificate III in Agriculture and the Certificate IV in Agribusiness are also very important education avenues which provide hands-on training to students.
– JOE KEYNES, President, Livestock SA