Primary Producers SA urges government–industry collaboration after election

Posted on Mar 6, 2014


The coming election will see a government elected facing considerable challenges. And a major one is how to ensure the state capitalises on the food, wine and fibre sectors.

Primary Producers SA has enjoyed good relationships with government departments since its formation. Consultation has reached a new level and PPSA has been able to influence a range of decisions.

“We are currently engaged in an exercise with PIRSA, DIMITRE and DEFEEST looking at how government can assist industry and what has and has not worked. We are hopeful that this will help the general relationship between the bureaucracy and industry, but more importantly improve outcomes” said PPSA Chair Rob Kerin.

The primary production sector is South Australia’s key industry – all the statistics support this! It is also the key to the state’s future and there is no doubt food, fibre and wine are areas where we can compete in an otherwise difficult manufacturing sector.

More must be done to grow the value adding sector. This will underpin our primary sector and supply the badly needed jobs to replace those the state is losing. The Asian markets are hungry for our products – we need to capitalise on this, and government and industry must work together to do this.

PPSA has identified a whole range of issues we need to address to maximize the benefit to the state of this industry. Additionally, the commodity organisation members of PPSA have a range of industry-specific issues which address not just their viability, but that of the state.

Whilst there are many issues, the resourcing of PIRSA and SARDI are vital to the industry. These are major economic development agencies, and need to be resourced as such. The biosecurity capacity must be adequate to protect our industries and our markets.

Attached is a summary of PPSA’s views on the issues government and industry must address.

We hope that whoever forms government will work closely with industry to ensure primary production thrives and the contribution to the SA community is increased by smart policies on how to maximize the jobs and the economic contribution from the food, fibre and wine industries.

Contact: Rob Kerin 0439 933 103

 

Summary of PPSA Issues

The following are cross-commodity issues which PPSA will pursue with whoever forms Government. The PPSA commodity association members also have their own additional issues.

PIRSA Resources: PIRSA has been stretched for resources in recent years. They have endured more than their share of government cuts. Whilst funding has been cut, most of their responsibilities have remained. This has put stress on some of their vital tasks.

SARDI: Also has had its share of cutbacks. R,D & E can play a vital part in growing the economic and jobs contribution of the industry. SARDI has achieved much and its funding allocations have not reflected that contribution.

Biosecurity: This is a major issue for industry across all commodities. We need biosecurity funded in a way which reflects the risks to the SA economy. PPSA has concerns that this area should take a higher priority, both to protect our industries and our markets.

Seamless Government: PPSA are keen to work with the government of the day. However, when working with multiple departments, industry need a seamless approach – with interdepartmental issues being handled efficiently.

Food Industry Growth: There is no doubt food has great potential for manufacturing growth. We already have some iconic food manufacturers and when you look at what they produce, it shows how many other opportunities there are.

Food processors have many critical mass efficiencies (warehousing, cold store, transport, waste, laboratory services etc) and we would urge government to consider the concept of a food park to capitalize on these efficiencies.

Labelling: We ask government to play a leading role in achieving sensible labelling laws. At present the laws are such that many consumers who would love to support local producers give up because of the confusion.

Water pricing, access and security: The rapid escalation in water prices is having a huge effect on the viability of industry, particularly those reliant on SA Water for supply. Access and security continue to be issues and some of these issues could be better resolved.

Mining and Gas: There is growing tension in several regions.

PPSA urge good consultation, strict environmental conditions, strong compliance, appropriate compensation, consideration of producers impacted, and a real appreciation of the impacts on future production. Producers should be able to access well researched and independent advice on the impacts of mining and fracking.

Planning: Planning issues remain important. The right for landholders to continue long term practices is important, and careful planning is important to protect our most productive land from urban sprawl and its associated issues.

Natural Resource Management: PPSA is currently involved in a project to better engage primary producers in NRM policy and projects. PPSA urge a “bottom up” approach to NRM, which acknowledges the role of primary producers in NRM, and treats sustainability (including financial sustainability) and productivity as key to NRM.

Native Vegetation: PPSA acknowledges the consultation in recent months re native vegetation offsets. We hope a mutually agreed outcome can be reached.

Trade: Promotion and marketing of SA product into Asia is important – and government must play a co-ordinating and pro-active role! We must work hard to get our product valued in overseas markets. Targeted “route to market” programmes are needed to grow exports.

Primary producers must be a valued part of the value chain and their bargaining rights protected in the marketplace, including through trade practices legislation, dispute resolution provisions and any codes of practice.

Taxation: Costs of doing business are vital to this sector. Costs of doing business directly affect viability.

Red Tape: A broad area of influence on rural businesses. PPSA have appreciated several approaches from departments where we have been able to signal impacts way beyond what was expected. Early consultation is important to avoiding unintended consequences from government policy. Also existing red tape needs to be reviewed and simplified. This includes environmental, transport and WH&S and employment regulations, as well as a range of taxes and levies.

Drought Policy: Always a contentious area, and reliant on current conditions. Livestock SA members are currently doing it hard in the Oodnadatta area and we would urge appropriate assistance, and more clarity as to eligibility for announced relief measures.

Emergency Management and Response: There is a need for practical and coordinated responses to fires, flood and other emergencies. This requires appropriate investment in the management of emergency situations and the recovery which follows. Primary producers also need to have input into policies relating to prescribed or controlled burns, for example.

Leadership and Education: PPSA acknowledges that public understanding of primary production and careers in primary production are at an all time low. We would like to work with the relevant departments to build the profile of the industry and encourage young primary producers.