Livestock SA regularly makes submissions and offers comments to governments and other organisations on issues impacting members.
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.