Primary Producers SA has welcomed a range of the new initiatives and delivery of election promises in the State Government’s first budget.

PPSA Executive Chairman Rob Kerin says the move by the government to reduce costs is a win for farm businesses, including changes to the Emergency Services Levy and payroll tax, capping natural resources management and state-wide initiatives in reducing energy costs.

“Given majority of farm businesses are small businesses, any assistance with reducing costs is welcomed and will position our industry to continue to grow and expand its contribution to the SA economy,” Mr Kerin said.

“In particular, the increased flexibility on stamp duty exemptions for transferring the family farm are very welcome and will lead to better business handling of such transfers.

“In addition, we welcome the $10 million over three years for mobile black spots. We hope this can leverage considerable amounts of Federal and other funds to address what is a major business, social and safety handicap for many regional areas of SA.

“We are also pleased to see a dedicated funding stream for projects to improve regional roads and infrastructure. This fund of $315 million over four years will continue to improve transport efficiency and safety in the regions.

“Access to health services in regional areas is a major concern for residents so we welcome the investments in country health facilities, $20 million over four years for the Rural Health Workforce Strategy and $6.8 million over four years to establish the Local Health Network Governing Boards.”

However, Mr Kerin says the sector remains concerned about ongoing investment in Primary Industries & Regions SA – the key department linking farmers and the broader primary production industry to the government.

“Research, development and biosecurity are vital to the growth of the food, wine and fibre sectors, which are continued performers when it comes to exports from SA. We are pleased Minister for Agriculture Tim Whetstone has protected SARDI and biosecurity from minor budget cuts to PIRSA. However significant increases in funding in future years will be needed.”

Grain Producers SA Chairman Wade Dabinett says the organisation welcomes the budget commitment to review cultivation of genetically modified crops in South Australia – a major issue for the state’s grain farmers.

“We welcome the retention of SARDI as a stand-alone unit of PIRSA but, like PPSA, we are seeking increased investment in R&D. GPSA will be closely watching the delivery of the renewed research investment framework over the next 12 months, as foreshadowed in the budget papers,” Mr Dabinett said.

“The State Government has also announced it will be investigating the establishment of a joint grain and mineral port on Eyre Peninsula through Infrastructure SA, so we will be seeking more detail of the extent of that review and how GPSA can have input on behalf of our members.”

Livestock SA President Joe Keynes says the organisation is pleased with the level of investment in issues important to the livestock sector.

“Livestock SA is pleased to see the increased funding for the control of wild dogs in the State Budget – this is for a trapper service enhanced baiting and dog fence improvements,” he said.

“Funding for Biosecurity SA to encourage livestock producers to use One Biosecurity and funding in SARDI for developing new strategies to improve the success rate of artificial insemination in sheep demonstrates that the livestock industries have not been forgotten by the State Government.”

More information: Rob Kerin, 0439 933 103