Livestock SA welcomed the opportunity to make a submission on behalf of its members in relation to the Farm Household Allowance. It is the Commonwealth Government’s income support payment that is designed to assist farmers and their partners experiencing financial hardship, regardless of the source of that hardship. It is an important support measure that is welcomed by industry as it can provide critical support for producers and their families.
Livestock SA would like to congratulate the South Australian State Government (through PIRSA) for providing leadership in the determination of the potential opportunities for local processing facilities on Kangaroo Island (KI). This has been a perennial problem, which has proven difficult to solve, throughout the history of agricultural production on KI. Local livestock producers are at a distinct disadvantage to the mainland, given the time and cost associated with freighting livestock via ferry to the mainland. In addition to this is the potential loss, in meat quality and stock condition, due to a sea crossing.
Many sheep, beef cattle and goat producers in South Australia rely on SA Water for access to water supplies for their livestock across quite a wide part of the agricultural areas of the State, from Eyre Peninsula to the South East. The increasing cost of SA Water has become a limiting factor to profitability and production expansion.
Livestock SA welcomed the opportunity to make a submission to the current inquiry of the Natural Resources Committee on the South Australian Livestock Industries. Livestock SA is the peak body for sheep, beef cattle and goat producers in this State with approximately 3,500 members and has a vision for a strong, viable, productive and profitable livestock production sector in South Australia which is valued by the community and all levels of government.
Livestock SA welcomes the Inquiry into the impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia. Pest animal control is a significant issue for Livestock SA members, with results from our recent 2018 annual survey highlighting it was a “major issue” for 35% of producers. While this includes feral deer, pigs and goats, other invasive animal species of major concern to livestock producers in South Australia include wild dogs and kangaroos. There are also other species of concern including rabbits, foxes, crows, feral cats, wombats, wallabies, possums, koalas and Cape Barren geese.
Livestock SA welcomes the independent review of South Australia’s moratorium on the cultivation of genetically modified food crops. Livestock SA is the peak body for sheep, beef cattle and goat producers in this State with approximately 3,500 members. Many of these producers are also grain growers and are directly affected by the current moratorium. The current South Australian GM food crop moratorium supposedly exists for trade and market access purposes. There does not appear to be any evidence of any market benefits from this moratorium. Livestock SA recommends that the moratorium be immediately lifted.
The inquiry into the management of overabundant and pest species in South Australia is an issue of importance across the Livestock SA industry. A co-ordinated effort remains the key to effective pest animal control across South Australia; along with appropriate implementation and enforcement regimes (i.e. underpinned by adequate resourcing), including adequate control measures on public lands. It is critical that the SA Government support statewide priorities and co-ordination, to bolster the investments made at the regional level using NRM levy funding.
Livestock SA producer members continue to express concern and frustration about regional telecommunications. While there have been some improvements since the 2015 Review, with the rollout of NBN in some areas and continuous efforts to remove some mobile blackspots, much more still needs to be done. As acknowledged in the Regional Telecommunications Review 2018 Issues Paper, telecommunications services are vital to participate in modern society. This includes farming businesses and farming families as well as their local rural communities. For livestock producers this includes marketing of livestock and accessing real time information to guide business decisions. Recently Livestock SA conducted a general survey of its members, and of the 360 respondents 55% indicated reliable internet and phone coverage were significant factors affecting their profitability.
The purpose of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement is to provide for the development, adoption or implementation of policies and strategies concerning water and related natural resources to avoid or eliminate, as reasonably practicable, adverse cross-border impacts. Livestock SA believes that not only does the Agreement need to continue, but it must be strengthened to provide for formal structures for both the Community Advisory Committee and the Scientific Advisory Panel. There also needs to be a more sustainable funding model for the Agreement into the future. It is essential that not only are South Australian interests taken into account but that the interests of South Australian pastoralists are always considered, as they are major stakeholders within this State.
Livestock SA is concerned that raising the minimum age to gain a motorcycle learner permit will impact negatively on work and education opportunities for young people in country areas. The Centre for Automotive Safety Research report: Recommendations for a Graduated Licensing System for Motorcyclists in South Australia had 10 recommendations including: Raising the minimum age to gain a motorcycle learner permit from 16 to 18. Livestock SA believes this recommendation is far too restrictive for South Australian agriculture where motorcycles are an essential part of the business.
Livestock SA represents and promotes the interests of beef cattle, sheep and goat producers in South Australia, including livestock producers in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, and it is on their behalf this submission is made, particularly those in the Barossa Valley. The discussion paper released to lead the review of the Character Preservation (Barossa Valley) Act 2012 and Character Preservation (McLaren Valley) Act 2012 was disappointing as it ignored agriculture even though these Acts are essentially about retaining the farming landscape in these two regions. There is a need for a detailed assessment of the impact of the Acts on agriculture, and the effect on future viability of agriculture.
In general terms, Livestock SA supports the draft policy and its objectives on the management of feral pigs in South Australia. However, Livestock SA is disappointed that the draft policy gives scant attention to the disease risk posed by feral pigs. As Livestock SA represents sheep, beef cattle and goat producers, we are also worried at the risks of spreading diseases to these animals and are concerned that the draft policy does not go far enough. There needs to be a well funded coordinated program if the State is to ensure that there is not an increase in numbers of feral pigs in this State that threatens both our agriculture and the environment.
In general terms, Livestock SA supports the draft policy on the management of feral deer in South Australia. It is obvious, and the draft policy concedes this, that the current level of control has not been effective at containing the spread or reducing the number of feral deer since 2006 under the first policy on feral deer. Much of the blame must rest on the deer industry and there needs to be more emphasis on the fencing standards required to stop farmed deer from escaping. More policing of standards is also required.
Livestock SA is concerned that kangaroo numbers are becoming an increasing issue for landowners across South Australia, in particular for pastoralists. Livestock SA believes the State can not rely on commercial harvesting to ensure kangaroo numbers are lowered to a level where they are not detrimental to the landscape and the community as a whole. We believe that a roundtable of stakeholders needs to be held to tackle the issue of how to manage the current overabundance of kangaroos.