Livestock SA regularly makes submissions and offers comments to governments and other organisations on issues impacting members.
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.
Livestock SA congratulates the State Government on its commitment to develop a statewide Regional Development Strategy. Our comments are largely focussed on the three aspects outlined in the Discussion Paper – Service Provision, Investment in Infrastructure, and Regional Enablers and relate to what livestock producers need to ensure that the State has a viable livestock industry.
On behalf of its pastoral members, Livestock SA wishes to raise a couple of issues in relation to the draft Outback Bushfire Management Area Plan, in relation to the terms of reference and Buffel grass. While appreciating that the terms of reference outlining the role and responsibility of the Outback Bushfire Management Committee primarily needs to be related to bushfire management, Livestock SA believes that in addition to considering the environment and land management, that part (f) needs to be expanded with an addition point about also “having due regard to property viability.” Maintaining viable grazing/livestock businesses needs to part of the land and fire management in this part of the State. Livestock SA is also concerned that the Outback Bushfire Management Committee wants buffel grass recognised as a declared weed in Western Australia and Northern Territory.
Livestock SA supports Wool Producer Australia’s submission to AWEX’s Review of the National Wool Declaration. In particular, Livestock SA would like ‘Ceased Mulesing’ to be removed from the NWD form, as this category is no longer relevant. Removing ‘Ceased mulesing’ will make the NWD form more straight-forward and user friendly and it would mean only three categories would be lised on the NWD, Non mulesed, Mulesed with pain relied and Mulesed.
Livestock SA was disappointed in the Inquiry’s fourth report entitled: “A Balanced Bargain.” Despite the title of the Inquiry’s third report: “A Cautious Conclusion”, this report provided an in-depth analysis to strongly demonstrate that unreasonably high-water prices had been set. The fourth report in comparison back-tracks on the Inquiry’s findings. The State Government states that it is aiming for the lowest cost environment possible to do business and reducing the price of water needs to be considered as part of this process.
Livestock SA commends the initiative to review the management of dams and supports many of the proposals set out in the Draft Position Paper. Livestock SA highlights the conundrum and apparent contradiction associated with the proposals for on the one hand, seeking to “reduce red tape” and on the other to potentially “increase the level of regulation over time”. Livestock SA’s membership will view this through the lens of ‘more red tape’ in their already highly regulated environment and will view management of their dams to be their responsibility in their best interest.
The independent Taskforce appointed by RMAC to review the Red Meat MOU has prepared a Green Paper for comment. For the sake of our members, it is essential that there is a well-structured process for the future of the sheep industry in this country. Livestock SA (along with other State Farming Organisations) has been working towards the establishment of one sheep Peak Industry Council with an amalgamation of Sheep Producers Australia and Wool Producers Australia. While we appreciate this was not an option in the Taskforce’s terms of reference, it does need to be considered.
The Livestock SA Board, comprising 10 elected producers from various parts of South Australia, canvassed members and others involved with livestock in SA to get feedback on Landmark’s proposed acquisition of Ruralco and how this may affect individual producers, regions and the whole industry. This engagement has highlighted widespread concerns about the reduction in competition, with some of these concerns specific to livestock production as well as some more general concerns.
Currently the Red Meat Advisory Council has a Green Paper in circulation on the Red Meat Memorandum of Understanding, and the Discussion Paper with its wider perspective, complements this. For the sake of our members, it is essential that there is a well-structured process for the future of the red meat industry in this country. The Discussion Paper clearly sets out the challenges for the red meat industry, and the role government can play in creating the right investment environment.
Livestock SA concurs with the major finding of the Review which indicates that the GM moratorium has cost SA grain growers at least $33 million since 2004 (Finding 4.1). As indicated in this Review, Livestock SA made a submission supporting the removal of the current moratorium. As many broadacre farmers in SA run livestock as well as cropping, the moratorium needs to be lifted as soon as it can be legislated.
The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) is to be congratulated on developing the 10-year National Investment Plan for Weeds Research, Development and Engagement. With weeds costing industry an estimated $4.3 billion annually, such a plan is long overdue. For most livestock producers, pest animals are in the main of much more concern than weeds, and we would be concerned if the development of the weeds 10-year Plan was at the expense of CISS’s excellent work on pest animals. The emphasis to date on rabbits, wild dogs, foxes, feral pigs and feral deer has been well received by industry and needs to continue.
Livestock SA commented mainly on the parts of the Productive Economy Policy Discussion Paper dealing with agriculture. It is stated that the Discussion Paper “focuses on the role the planning system can play in protecting and growing key industries.” From a Livestock SA perspective, we are not quite sure if this has been achieved. We certainly support Target 1 in the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide of “containing our urban footprint and protecting our resources” and the aim for all new housing to be contained in metropolitan Adelaide or in established townships.
Livestock SA was pleased to receive a copy of the SA Water Pricing Inquiry’s Third Report “A Cautious Conclusion” and wishes to applaud the findings as outlined in the report. The Inquiry is to be commended for the work undertaken and for the preparation of a thorough Report, providing in-depth analysis to demonstrate that unreasonably high water prices have been set.
The draft Buffel Grass Strategic Plan is focussed on buffel grass’s negative impact on biodiversity, aboriginal culture and how it has no single control method. The Buffel Grass Task Force has created a biased, subjective document that has neglected the nutritional advantages for livestock, and the economic benefits to pastoralists. The draft Plan emphasises the management of buffel grass to control the infestation in South Australia. However, it has limited information on the controlling method, funding potentials and community involvement events.
Regardless of the merits of this Fire and Emergency Services (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill, Livestock SA wishes to express concern at the lack of consultation before the Bill was brought to State Parliament. In future there needs to be extensive, up-front consultation. It also needs to be timely, allowing plenty of time for discussion and feedback, and to be held at a time when there can be maximum participation. Clarification is also required about which CFS officers will have the power to direct that any activity stop.
Livestock SA wishes to highlight the ‘disability’ of distance and remoteness from Adelaide and good internet access. Virtually all primary producers are finding access to the internet and easy use of various websites are a vital part of running their businesses. Livestock producers continue to express concern and frustration about poor regional telecommunications which limits access and use of the internet including State Government online services.