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In this edition: Page 2: Rural and Regional Council chair Nicola Centofanti’s report

Page 5: Caroline Rhodes on investing in young rural leadership

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From the editor’s desk HON ANDREW McLACHLAN CSC MLC RURAL BRIEFING EDITOR GREETINGS AND welcome to the AGM edition of Rural Briefing. I thank all our contributors for writing in this edition. Since we last went to print, Senator Alex Antic was formally declared as our third Liberal Senator for South Australia. Alex has been a regular visitor to the regions and he tells your editor that it is his intention to continue to support rural and regional members of the Party. Congratulations Alex. Senator Antic will be delivering his first speech

to the Senate at 5pm on Tuesday, 17 September 2019. I acknowledge the work of Dr Nicola Centofanti in her role as chair of Rural and Regional Council for the past three years. Rural and Regional Council has had much to say at State Council under her leadership. I am confident that Nicola will continue to be a strong advocate for rural and regional South Australia, particularly as the Federal Chair of Regional and Rural Council. Since our last council meeting, I have attended the Kavel SEC AGM, MacKillop SEC AGM, Hammond SEC AGM and a Mount Gambier branch meeting. CONTINUED ON PAGE TWO

Chris Zanker on the success of ‘politics in the pub’ events

Page 7: Anne Hornsey reports on a Kapunda branch meeting

Page 8: Robert Walsh calls for security of tenure for shack owners

Page 10: Kendall Jackson urges a full review of PATS

Page 13: Kent Andrew discusses the need for more dams to secure water

Page 15: Mark Filsell on tax levied on agricultural land

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Report from the chair


IT IS WITH mixed emotions that I present to you my final report as South Australian Rural and Regional Council chair. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chair and been extremely humbled by the friendship and support of council members. This year has been especially busy and we’ve been fortunate to have had a range of excellent guest speakers in ministers Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Stephen Wade and Stephan Knoll, Vice President Dr Max van Dissel and Graeme Parsons, president of the Industrial Hemp Association of SA. Rural and Regional Council has continued to be an active forum for policy discussion and debate. This year we have seen 15 policy motions passed by the council, with several of these motions being brought to the attention of their relevant minister and continuing on to be debated at State Council.

Dr Centofanti aims to continue to assist country South Australia in her new role chairing Federal Regional and Rural Council.

Topics have included rural youth, banning corflutes, regional infrastructure investment, speed limits on SA country roads, local relative sea level, regional rail in the South East, council rate capping, animal control, chain of responsibility laws and the mining bill. I would encourage all members to continue to contribute

to policy motions and debate in the future. The council played an active role in campaigning and raising funds for our marginal and rural and regional seats during the Federal election. We welcomed the outstanding result which, for South Australia, saw all of our current members re-elected and Alex Antic elected to the Senate. I thank all members for the role they played in their respective electorates. I look forward to continuing my role in assisting country South Australia as the newly elected Federal Regional and Rural Council chair and will continue to keep you updated. Thanks to all members who have supported me in my role and become dear friends. In particular I would like to pay special tribute to the executive in Courtney Stephens, Michael van Dissel, Lyn Nitschke, Lachlan Haynes, Charlotte Edmunds, John Harvey, Michael Willson, Emma Godfrey, Sam Telfer, Andrew McLachlan, Nicolle Flint, Tim Whetstone and Anne Ruston. A special thank you to Lyn and John Nitschke for the continued use of the Carlton Club.

From the editor’s desk... CONTINUED FROM PAGE ONE

I thank each of them for their warm welcome and for inviting me. It has been great to listen to our membership and learn more of the issues that are impacting upon their lives. I have tried to include articles on as many of these as possible. It is fantastic that this edition of Rural Briefing has the largest number of contributions from lay members of Rural and Regional Council. These include former editor Neil Andrew, who examines the Murray Darling Basing Plan.

Lachlan Haynes considers the need for the Federal Government to review Newstart and Irene Filsell calls for an assessment of the amendments to the Mining Act 1971. Member for MacKillop Nick McBride writes about the need for greater support for our emergency services volunteers and Member for Barker Tony Pasin talks about a new Select Committee on Regional Australia. Minister David Ridgway discusses new overseas trade and investment offices, Minister Tim Whetstone updates us on rebuilding the dog fence and Senator Simon

Birmingham describes the benefits of free trade. I wish to remind members to continue to collate and send to me photographs of themselves working in our communities and sharing the Liberal message. I am very keen to ensure that the next edition of Rural Briefing includes more photographs of members. We must not rest in our fight for continued investment in rural South Australia and policies which energise our regions. Rural Briefing aims to bring to the attention of all Liberals these policy imperatives.

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New laws target illegal activism SENATOR THE HON ANNE RUSTON MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES ANOTHER FEDERAL election commitment was recently delivered with the introduction of legislation to protect the privacy and safety of farmers and primary producers. It creates new offences for the incitement of trespass, property damage or theft on agricultural land, sending a clear message to vigilante vegan activists. The South Australian agriculture sector underpins regional towns and is often the backbone of our local economy. It should not be subject to torment and abuse. Our farmers from Kimba to Mt Gambier and everywhere in between should be celebrated, not belittled. Some farmers are questioning their place in the industry and others have left. Australian farmers have a right to feel safe in their businesses and their homes. We can’t afford to have hardworking producers driven out of their businesses because of trespassers. Agriculture businesses should lawfully be able to practise and these protections are fundamental principles of our society. The sophisticated and coordinated attacks on farming operations must stop and that’s why our legislation will target and criminally punish activists

Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the 2019 Bush Summit at Dubbo: “The success of our regional economies is linked to the performance of our primary producers.”

who have not previously been held accountable. The proposed laws include up to 12 months’ jail for using the internet or other means to disclose personal information and incite others to trespass on farms or livestock businesses. They were first flagged earlier this year to counter groups like Aussie Farms, which published an interactive map showing farms and dairies subsequently targeted by protesters. I’m very pleased that the Federal

Government has taken decisive action to ensure any further criminal actions are appropriately penalised. It’s also great that the State Government will introduce similar legislation. We are committed to work hand in hand with the agriculture sector to ensure this essential industry has the protections it deserves. As the Prime Minister recently said during the Bush Summit in Dubbo: “The success of our regional economies is linked to the performance of our primary producers.”

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Budget commitment to regions HON STEVEN MARSHALL PREMIER OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA OVER THE PAST 16 months I have enjoyed visiting communities right across country South Australia. Meeting and talking to farmers, small business owners, sporting club volunteers, parent groups and young people, listening to their ideas and concerns. My Government is committed to creating jobs and growing economic activity in our regional and rural communities. The recent State Budget demonstrates my Government’s strong focus on building productive infrastructure, delivering services and opening opportunities for growth in regional SA. We’ve invested a record $1.1 billion over eight years for regional road projects and infrastructure upgrades. This includes a record $878 million of new funding, the biggest injection of new funding in a State Budget for regional roads in South Australia’s history. The 2019-20 Budget has committed $32 million over five years to capital upgrades for regional high schools including to facilitate the transition of Year 7 into high school. In addition we’re redeveloping the Berri Senior

Premier Steven Marshall with Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis at Kipling’s Bakery, Port Wakefield.

Campus of Glossop High School, capital works to upgrade the Gawler and District College B-12, and upgrading and modernising the John Pirie Secondary School. Regional tourism operators will also benefit from an extra $33 million in tourism marketing from the Economic and Business Growth Fund (in addition to the $10 million provided in last year’s Budget for 2019-20), to enable the South Australian Tourism Commission to further promote South Australia to international and interstate markets.

We maintain commitments from the 2018-19 Budget to country health, with a $140 million injection to address the backlog in capital works projects, while $20 million seeks to address the shortage of doctors and other healthcare professionals in regional areas. My Government is listening to and investing in regional South Australia. We recognise the immense value to our State of our country regions both economically and socially. Together, we will build a strong future for South Australia.

Member for Schubert the Hon Stephan Knoll was at Roseworthy Primary School in June to officially open its new STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) facility. The Liberal Government is investing $250 million in new STEM facilities across 139 South Australian schools.

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Senator Anne Ruston launched Grain Producers SA’s Emerging Leaders Program in May.

Need to invest in young rural leaders CAROLINE RHODES LOBETHAL BRANCH RURAL AND Regional Council has traditionally played a key role in advancing rural policy issues in the Liberal Party while also supporting rural and regional advocates who advance through to State Executive, and ultimately to Parliament. As a member-led forum we have a mandate to maintain a strong voice and policy focus in State Council that reflects the needs and aspirations of our regional base, helping to bridge the city-country divide. Research commissioned by the National Farmers’ Federation has revealed that Australians have grown disconnected from the source of their food and fibre, with 83% describing their connection with farming as ‘distant’ or ‘non-existent’. The disconnect between the city and country on issues such as live animal exports, GM crops and chemical use

is giving rise to activism that is rapidly shaping the political environment. We need to respond to these policy challenges in accordance with core Liberal values. To maintain freedom to operate on-farm, the sector needs to be alert and prepared to respond to a range of strategic threats from well-coordinated activist groups who campaign on single issues such as the GM moratorium. Rural Australia needs strong advocates who have the confidence and resources to engage with a much broader audience than ever before. Community perception left unchallenged becomes political reality. Anyone involved in Rural Youth Movement will appreciate there has always been a cohort of young farmers and country people who want to shape the future of rural industries. We just need to recognise the value of investing in the next generation and create an appropriate forum to harness this enthusiasm.

That’s why GPSA recently launched its Emerging Leaders Program modelled on the highly successful South Australian Farmers’ Federation (SAFF) Future Leaders Program that was established in the early 2000s. It was through SAFF that a young Nicolle Flint honed her skills and passion for advocacy that we now see on the national political stage. GPSA was thrilled to receive the support of Senator the Hon Anne Ruston to launch the Emerging Leaders Program in May, while the Hon Andrew McLachlan CSC provided an introduction to State Parliament, helping to kick the program off last month and inspire participants. Rural and Regional Council should be no different. We need to attract new members who are passionate about rural issues, motivated to make a difference and who want to contribute to the Liberal Party policy platform, while developing new skills and networks. Let’s make this a collective priority for the year ahead.

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‘Politics in the pub’ at Meadows Hotel CHRIS ZANKER ECHUNGA, MEADOWS AND CENTRAL HILLS BRANCH THE ECHUNGA, Meadows and Central Hills branch of the Liberal Party has been successfully holding ‘politics in the pub’ dinners at the Meadows Hotel for 13 years. Soon after moving to Meadows my wife Bronwyn and I noted there was not much happening locally to support the Liberal Party. We attended a ‘spirituality in the pub’ session at the Three Brothers Arms at Macclesfield and from that we developed the idea of ‘politics in the pub’ dinners at the Meadows Hotel. The Meadows publicans, Deb and Paul Corrigan, have been very supportive. The dinners are now held five times a year on dates that are

preset and advertised so they can be entered in the diary at the beginning of the year. Dinner guests support the cause, listen to and engage with a guest speaker, and enjoy some political humour. The KISS principle of ‘keep it simple, stupid’ applies. Invitations are by email using a contact group, with minimal postage used, and it’s advertised in the Liberal weekly events diary. The table set up, evening program and raffle system is always the same. There is no agenda or branch meeting held on the night. Raffle prizes are by donation: the pub and others donate some wine, and there is a mixture of produce and gifts put on the table. Tickets are sold and drawn on the same night at the same place, thereby complying with minor raffle rules. The dinners usually have 25 to 40 attending. Branch membership numbers have tripled since the event began, and many thousands of dollars have been raised for Liberal Party causes.

Emergency volunteers need more support NICK McBRIDE MP

whole person impairment. This is difficult to quantify, especially with a psychological condition such as PTSD.

MEMBER FOR MACKILLOP IF YOU LIVE in a regional area, you are acutely aware of the importance of our emergency services volunteers. When paid police or MFS officers respond to a road crash or structure fire, so too does a small army of unpaid CFS or SES volunteers. Like their paid counterparts, these individuals often find themselves in dangerous and traumatic situations. They fight uncontrollable bushfires and help manage and clean up after horrendous road crashes. But what for? Volunteering is a great way to meet people and build relationships. It strengthens our ties to the community, allowing us to give back. However volunteering for our emergency services can come at a severe emotional and financial cost. I have met with a number of CFS volunteers whose lives have been irreversibly changed following their involvement in a traumatic

If you have worked in life threatening situations or witnessed traumatic incidents—not just once, but maybe many times in your life as a volunteer—is it fair to put a timeframe on when you will be well again? This is especially relevant in regional areas where access to accredited specialists is an added challenge, often delaying treatment. The volunteers I have met are still suffering yet their medical and income support has ceased. experience. Trouble sleeping, mood swings, depression and suicidal thoughts have led them to reach out years later for help with illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Under the Return to Work Act 2014, volunteers who have been injured in the line of duty receive only two years of medical and income support unless their injuries are deemed ‘catastrophic’, which means a 30%

Currently, all paid emergency services personnel receive ongoing medical and income support if they have been injured in a dangerous situation with no two-year time limit. We need to expand this to include volunteers as well. We need to provide the same support to those men and women who put their lives on the line for us for no monetary gain. Our emergency service volunteers deserve it.

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New regional Australia committee TONY PASIN MP MEMBER FOR BARKER OUR REGIONAL communities are some of the most resilient, some of the most diverse, and they’re unequivocally vital to our nation as a whole, both culturally and economically. The importance of regional Australia to the national economy means that realising the potential of our regions remains critical to securing future prosperity for all Australians. In short, what is in the interests of rural and regional Australians is in the national interest. It’s for this reason that the Prime Minister has established a Select Committee on Regional Australia and asked me to chair this committee, which will identify the future needs of rural and regional economies and where the potential lies.

While much of the national media of late has been about the hardships in rural and regional Australia, we actually have a great story to tell. It’s a story about how regional economies are diversifying, how regional industries are finding their way, and how regional communities are boosting their resilience and working

together to secure their future, our future. By discovering the untold or unknown stories of our regions, it will help us not only gain a better understanding as a Government of what we can do to help rural and regional Australia meet its potential, but help our city cousins to better understand our regions and the contribution they make as well. These stories will play an important role in helping achieve the Federal Government’s plan to boost the size and scale of our agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries from $60 billion to $100 billion by 2030. I’m passionate about our nation’s regions and what they already deliver to the Australian economy. Our economy was built on the back of primary production. Our regions continue to punch well above their weight and I am confident they will continue to do so.

Connectivity, infrastructure priorities in Barker ANNE HORNSEY KAPUNDA BRANCH ISSUES OF concern in Barker revolve around ‘connectivity’ and the need for adequate infrastructure and services in rural areas according to local member Tony Pasin at a recent dinner held by the Kapunda branch. “In South Australia the Government is methodically working its way through a huge backlog of infrastructure challenges that it inherited after 16 years of a Labor government, with a lot of catching up to do,” he said. “This will mean more money will need to come from the Federal government in joint Federal/State partnerships”. Tony told the meeting Australian agriculture will continue to change and provide challenges for those involved in the industry. To help with this long-term approach, Tony has been appointed to chair a new Select Committee on Regional Australia. Tony advised the Prime Minister wants national agriculture, fisheries and forestry production to grow from $60 billion to $100 billion by 2030. “As a home grown South Australian rural MP I’m passionate about our nation’s regions and what they deliver

Kapunda branch Secretary Susan Shannon, left, and President Anne Hornsey with Member for Barker Tony Pasin.

to the Australian economy,” he said. “Our economy was built on the back of primary production and our regions continue to punch above their weight. “I want to see this Select Committee bring together the stories and experience of how regional economies are diversifying, how regional industries are finding their way, and how regional communities are boosting their resilience and working together to secure their future.” Those present also questioned Tony on a variety of topics including proposed alterations and amendments to the Constitution, challenges to religious freedoms, citizenship issues and the unbridled bias of some media outlets.

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Preventing suicide on track HON JOHN DAWKINS MLC PREMIER’S ADVOCATE FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION INJURIES AND fatalities on our rail network resulting from accidents, reckless behaviour or suicide have a devastating and traumatic impact on families, communities and rail employees. The TrackSAFE Foundation was established in 2012 with the aim of reducing the number of incidents on our rail network, delivering an all-of-industry approach to rail suicide prevention, level crossing safety, track safety and trauma management. TrackSAFE has recently partnered with Lifeline Australia to create a national suicide prevention campaign to promote Lifeline’s services using the theme ‘Pause. Call. Be Heard’. Already rolled out across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, the campaign was recently launched in South Australia with support from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. On 5 July I joined representatives from Lifeline and TrackSAFE to officially launch the campaign, which installs billboards in train stations across South Australia. The campaign delivers a clear, simple message encouraging commuters to stop and consider the potential consequences of a tragic decision, and increases general awareness of Lifeline and its services. The campaign has proven to be effective in Victoria, with an evaluation by the University of Melbourne finding 78% of people who had seen the campaign materials during their travels, indicating that the messages increased the likelihood of them seeking help from Lifeline for themselves or others.

From left, Lifeline Australia chair John Brogden AM, Hon John Dawkins MLC, senior train driver Darryl Matthews, TrackSAFE Foundation executive director Naomi Fraeunfelder and TrackSAFE Foundation chair Bob Herbert AM.

After the launch, Lifeline and TrackSAFE hosted a Suicide Prevention Roundtable meeting in Parliament House attended by Stephan Knoll, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, and myself. The meeting heard from senior representatives from the rail, roads, public transport, police and mental health sectors, including those with lived experience. The meeting examined current data on rail suicides and discussed key actions to be taken to address this dreadful issue. Rail Safety Week is being held from 12-18 August 2019 and encourages education and awareness around railway level crossing and track safety.

Call for secure tenure for shack owners ROBERT WALSH COWELL BRANCH IT HAS BEEN well over a year since the Liberals formed Government. Each election the Liberal Party has promised shack owners on Crown land secure tenure. Not one shack in South Australia that was previously threatened by ministers Rau and Hunter has advanced to have secure tenure since the Liberals finally gained office. The main reason is because members of the Coast Protection Board still remain in their current positions and

haven’t acknowledged the political will of the current Government. Presiding member Allan Holmes has stated his position remains the same.

facility at Lucky Bay was zoned coastal conservation. Now the new planning code is being influenced by the same people.

In the new planning code to be introduced early in 2020 the previous Labor government zoned coastal properties, town allotments, and shack settlements as ‘coastal conservation’. Anyone who was unfortunate to have property zoned in this way can no longer sub-divide or build infrastructure in a coastal zone.

I cannot understand why our Government wants to introduce the new planning code in its present form when it will make it basically impossible for shack owners to improve and replace shacks. To gain secure tenure, shacks must be improved as a condition.

The coastal zoning was also mapped with advice from the Coast Protection Board. The brand new multi-use port

Hopefully our Premier will put a halt to the implementation of the new planning code until shack owners are allowed secure tenure.

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Labour scheme key to Pacific engagement SENATOR DAVID FAWCETT

Australian personnel in the Pacific during and since the world wars, the strategic importance of the Pacific islands to Australia remains to this day.

PRIME MINISTER Scott Morrison recently welcomed Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape to Australian shores engaging on defence, economic development and regional stability. Both leaders recognised the mutual benefits offered by the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Workers Programme, contributing to our economies. Papua New Guinea joined the scheme earlier this year. Established in 2012, the programme offered Australian employers in the horticulture industry access to workers from eight Pacific island nations and Timor-Leste when they could not find enough local labour to satisfy seasonal demand. These workers help growers harvest crops, increase productivity and get produce to market. Savings and remittances from Australia’s labour mobility initiatives pay for housing, education and support communities in Pacific island countries.

This renewed focus on improving economic stability in the Pacific has led to the expansion of the Seasonal Worker Programme into the new Pacific Labour Scheme, complementing the success of its predecessor.

Since 2012, 33,000 seasonal jobs have been provided to workers from the Pacific and Timor-Leste. As a result of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, Australia’s focus on our region has enhanced collaboration with our neighbouring island nations to see greater security, stability, economic strength and resilience. From the extensive support provided and leadership demonstrated by

The scheme is open to all sectors and industries where there is a genuine shortage of Australian workers and is demand-driven where an employer has demonstrated they cannot fill positions from the Australian labour market. The Pacific Labour Facility provides oversight and ensures that Pacific workers are not exploited during their time in Australia. This scheme will help fill the labour gaps in Australia’s towns and on our farms, boosting economic activity and competitiveness in rural and regional Australia.

STEM facilities benefit Hammond students ADRIAN PEDERICK MP

MEMBER FOR HAMMOND OVER THE PAST 12 months I have attended the opening of three new STEM facilities in my electorate of Hammond. The STEM works program is a $250 million investment by the Liberal Government to provide 139 schools with contemporary facilities to enrich teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Around 75,000 students will benefit from these refurbished and redeveloped facilities. This program will give our teachers the facilities they need to inspire innovation and creativity, stimulate imagination and challenge students’ capabilities. In August last year I attended the opening by Minister for Education John Gardner of the $1 million STEM facilities at Murray Bridge North Primary School. In March this year I opened the $2.5 million STEM facilities

at Murray Bridge High School. Students were keen to show me their work in robotics and I was given the chance to remotely control a robot and steer it through an obstacle course. In May this year I opened the $3.5 million STEM facilities at Mannum Community College. Visitors were taken on a tour throughout the new and improved facilities where students were thrilled to explain the projects underway. I was quite impressed by the tech building where the students displayed the woodwork stencils they had designed on a computer. These new facilities in rural and regional South Australia are vitally important for regional students to keep pace with their city peers. Investments such as these ensure regional students stay at home with as many learning options as city students. Given the huge advancements in technology in the agricultural sector, defence industries and Australia’s space agency being located in Adelaide, STEM skills will be in high demand well into the future.

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Kendall Jackson with Trevor King of Port Pirie, who fought for six months to have his Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS) claim approved for a visit to his Adelaidebased heart specialist.

PATS review needed KENDALL JACKSON PRESIDENT, FROME SEC IT CONCERNS ME when regional South Australians are disadvantaged compared to their city counterparts when it comes to vital services like health. Obviously there will be some differences in health services and the way they’re delivered. In many cases providing additional services in the country is not economical, and rural dwellers understand that. It is frustrating when we are forced to use a service or see a specialist doctor we have never seen before, when we have already built a relationship with an existing doctor or specialist in Adelaide, or we can’t be subsidised for travel to see a specialist to which our regular GP would prefer to refer us. I’m speaking to more and more country people who are having their Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS) claims refused, either because a service is available at a nearby regional centre yet the local doctor referred them to a doctor in Adelaide, or because there’s a specialist which visits the local hospital yet they have visited a particular doctor in Adelaide for a period of time. In some cases specialists from Adelaide are travelling to the country to avoid patients needing to claim PATS, only to then say they can’t do any procedures in the country and they drag the patient to Adelaide regardless. I understand the State Government is conducting a mini-review of the scheme and some people have raised concerns over the actual reimbursements themselves. However, I think there needs to be a full review of the scheme—and the sooner the better. At the moment, if someone has been paid PATS in the past for visits or treatments to a specialist, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll receive a payment for their next appointment. A PATS hotline, which could be used by doctors and patients to ensure they are referring or being referred to specialists where PATS claims are accessible, may also assist country patients. Too many country people are being referred to doctors in Adelaide under the false pretence they will be able to be subsidised for travel, when in actual fact their claims are being refused.

Trade office export boost HON DAVID RIDGWAY MLC MINISTER FOR TRADE, TOURISM AND INVESTMENT THE LIBERAL Government made an election commitment in the lead up to the 2018 election to create and implement a comprehensive policy to boost South Australia’s international trade and support our exporters. The former government spent vast sums of money flying up to 300 people at a time overseas, with few if any goals or measures and with former minister Martin Hamilton-Smith admitting that one delegation cost the same amount as keeping a dedicated trade office open for an entire year! Such waste and bureaucracy rarely resulted in any outcomes for exporters. The Liberal Government has listened to exporters and knows they need on-the-ground support to open new markets for South Australian products. The Government engaged former New Zealand finance minister Steven Joyce to undertake a comprehensive review of South Australia’s international engagement. The Joyce Review recommended that business, not government, take the lead in recommending which outbound missions take place. As part of the commitment to improving South Australia’s exports, in November last year the Government opened its first trade and investment office in Shanghai. With a dedicated staff member, the office provides support and access to the lucrative Chinese market. The second office was opened in Tokyo in March this year. Covering the north-east Asia region, including Korea, the area accounts for more than $1 billion per year in South Australian exports. Further trade and investment offices will be established in the Middle East, the United States and south-east Asia, with the next one to be opened by year end. A key part of the Government’s strategy is opening South Australia to the world and it is committed to growing State exports across a broad range of sectors, to drive economic growth and create local jobs.

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Consultation on dog fence rebuild HON TIM WHETSTONE MP MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT I RECENTLY visited parts of the 100-year-old South Australian dog fence on the West Coast with Member for Flinders Peter Treloar. About an hour from Ceduna we met with local farmers, pastoralists and community members who have been affected by wild dogs. The Liberal Government has committed to a $25 million once-ina-generation rebuild of the ageing dog fence made up of $10 million each from the Federal and State governments and $5 million from industry. To say this news has been welcomed by our northern pastoralists and farmers is an understatement. The community members I met north of Ceduna have been experiencing problems with wild dogs for years with it getting particularly bad in recent times due to the poor condition of the fence. While there is a local dog fence board which is tasked with maintenance, its budget isn’t very big so it does the best it can with what it has.

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar, local landholders Craig Trowbridge and Geoff Power, and Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone at a section of the dog fence on the West Coast.

The part of the fence I visited had aged so much that I felt like if I lent on it too much it would fall over. Imagine what kind of damage a scavenging wild dog or adventuring kangaroo or camel could do to it. Too many farmers and pastoralists have lost livestock because of this ageing fence which is costing our State’s agriculture industry significant amounts of money. Earlier in the year, the State Government commissioned a cost benefit analysis for the dog fence rebuild which showed the positive impact on gross state product was expected to be $1.8 million in the first year, $8.1 million in the third year and $5.3 million in the 20th year.

After years of neglect by the former Labor government, the Liberal Government is getting to work to rebuild 1600 kilometres of 100-year old sections of the South Australian dog fence to greater protect our pastoralists from the destructive impacts of wild dogs. We anticipate work to commence next year, and consultation to start immediately, to ensure those directly impacted by wild dogs are involved in the planning process. We will form a Dog Fence Rebuild Committee which will provide strategic direction and lead the engagement of members of local dog fence boards and other pastoral stakeholders in the process of rebuilding the dog fence.

Call to assess mining act amendments IRENE FILSELL LOBETHAL BRANCH THE MINING industry has struggled with changes made to the Mining Act 1971 that doubled fees without the promised halving of assessment times and red tape. Assessment times and red tape have skyrocketed amid complaints of shifting goalposts. The one thing miners and farming groups agree on is that decisions take far too long. There is a pyramid representation

of SA’s mineral industry pipeline on the Department for Energy and Mining website showing 24 mines and developing projects. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have some more

approved and operating, perhaps doubling or tripling the $150 million per annum we currently receive from minerals? Grain Producers SA (GPSA) and South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) have called for an assessment of the Act and regulations compared with other states. I call for Korda Mentha to be appointed to undertake this assessment. In my opinion the amendments will add further to delays and costs for miners.

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Minister for Trade, Tourism and Invesment Simon Birmingham signs documents to conclude the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement under the gaze of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Trade agenda benefitting regions SENATOR THE HON SIMON BIRMINGHAM MINISTER FOR TRADE, TOURISM AND INVESTMENT THE BENEFITS of trade for Australia’s rural and regional communities are real and tangible. This is why our Government has pursued free trade agreements that break down barriers overseas and lock in opportunities for Australian businesses to export more of their products all over the world. Good progress is being made on negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union. An agreement with the EU has the potential to open up a market for Australian goods and services of half a billion people and a GDP of $US17.3 trillion. Even without the United Kingdom,

the EU will remain Australia’s second largest trading partner. Securing a comprehensive and ambitious FTA that gives Australian exporters a competitive edge into the EU market underlines the Coalition Government’s commitment to ensuring open trade and is a key part of our plan to keep our economy strong. We are also seeking to conclude a high-quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement to improve opportunities for Australian businesses to operate in 10 of Australia’s top 15 trading partners. The RCEP countries (10 ASEAN nations plus Australia, China, India, Japan and Korea) comprise almost half the world’s population, almost onethird of the world’s GDP, and more than 60 per cent of Australia’s total goods and services trade. Our Government has concluded trade agreements with China, Japan,

Korea, the 10 other economies of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP11), and the 10 other countries of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus). We have also concluded FTA negotiations with Indonesia, Peru and Hong Kong. These trade deals have provided Australian farmers and businesses with better access to billions of new customers. They have lowered or eliminated tariffs on key Australian exports such as beef, dairy, wheat, sugar and a range of resource and energy products, helping us to achieve a record trade surplus. It is important we continue to pursue our ambitious trade agenda to support Australia’s ongoing economic growth and competitiveness, particularly in rural and regional Australia. I look forward to representing the interests of all Australians to secure these objectives.

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More dams needed for water security KENT ANDREW WAIKERIE BRANCH THE MEASURE of the standard of living in a developed country is arguably strongly influenced by its ability to provide insurance cover for its people, for example health insurance, asset insurance or personal and liability insurance. As our population grows Australia will need more fresh water for use by households, businesses and agriculture, as well as greater water security. Water supplies and security can be enhanced with ‘water resource insurance’, which can be provided by increased water storage. There have been no major government water infrastructure storage builds since the Dartmouth Dam more than 40 years ago. South Australia’s ‘guaranteed’ 1850 gigalitres per year from the Murray-Darling system would probably never be achieved without Dartmouth.

Since that time growth in population, business and agriculture, along with environmental requirements, has substantially increased the demand for water with little increase in supply or security (notwithstanding some small urban capital city desalination plants and the questionable private ‘water harvesting’ and storage going

on in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland). Irrespective of climate change, the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the need for agricultural and business growth to maintain and enhance our standard of living, we will need more fresh water and greater water security. This can be best provided by an increase in government-controlled storage infrastructure delivering national water resource insurance. Growth and improvement is not sustainable with a finite fundamental resource: fresh water. While increasing water security will remain an ongoing political challenge, it is a challenge worth meeting for the survival and future of generations to come. History has shown that for survival and growth, save and store resources in the good times (when it rains) for use in the drier times. As we grow, we need more storage to provide that security. Build more dams!

Call to increase Newstart payments LACHLAN HAYNES RURAL AND REGIONAL COUNCIL STATE POLICY COORDINATOR WITH MANY IN the Coalition calling for reconsideration of the Newstart payment level and even former Prime Minister John Howard holding the view it should now be raised, perhaps the time has come for a review. Newstart has not risen in real terms since 1994 even though in that same period the age pension has nearly doubled. At $277 a week, Newstart is now struggling to keep pace with modern expenses such as electricity, rent and water which all seem to have risen much faster than inflation. With the least educated, skilled or qualified, lowest socioeconomic electorates being predominantly rural Coalitionheld seats, it is important for the Government to ensure the payment is enough to allow a diginified existence for recipients while they seek employment. In the United States there’s a proposal to base unemployment welfare on an individual’s time in previous employment and taxation paid. I think this provides an

excellent incentive to work and contribute, and helps those who have fallen on an unusual period of unemployment. Conversely it penalises the long-term and intergenerationally unemployed who will receive much less. A review into Newstart may provide a fresh opportunity to not only find the correct level of payment, but also examine new methods and obligations that are positive for recipients and help in lowering numbers needing assistance.

14 RURAL BRIEFING August 2019

New causeway for Granite Island DAVID BASHAM MP MEMBER FOR FINNISS THE LIBERAL Government will build a brand new causeway between Victor Harbor and Granite Island. The existing causeway is 150 years old and on its last legs. On New Year’s Day this year, one of its pylons collapsed and forced the suspension of the iconic horse-drawn tram service. Subsequent inspection of the causeway showed considerable deterioration, prompting an extensive repair job but more importantly the need for a strategic decision by the Government about the future of the heritage-listed structure. That decision—to initially allocate $20 million for a permanent solution— was announced by Premier Steven Marshall on his visit to Victor Harbor in June. It’s a great outcome for the Fleurieu Peninsula region.

Member for Finniss David Basham and Premier Steven Marshall at Victor Harbor in June when the Premier announced the State Government’s $20 million commitment for a permanent solution to secure the long-term future of the Granite Island causeway.

Granite Island, the horse-drawn tram and the causeway are major drawcards in a region which relies strongly on tourism, and which is the second most popular destination in the State. The decision to build a new causeway has been very popular, and my office is

already being inundated with ideas and suggestions. Plans and designs have been released for consultation ahead of the detailed design phase. Work will begin this financial year and the project is due for completion in 2021.

Mount Gambier branch meeting: from left, Mount Gambier branch members Nevin Lamont, Malcolm Jennings, Diana Wiseman, James Freemantle, Neil Howard, Ben Hood (Vice President), Roger Saunders (President) and guest speaker the Hon Andrew McLachlan CSC MLC, who discussed the work of the Legislative Council.

RURAL BRIEFING August 2019 15

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway and Member for Kavel Dan Cregan with, left, Nick Psevdos and, right, Nathan Plant of the South Australian Potato Company in Mount Barker. The familyowned business employs 100 staff who grow, pack and market more than 60,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes for Australian and international markets.

Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey at the launch in July of Activate Business Port Pirie, a program to mentor and assist jobless entrepreneurs to start their own business. He’s with, from left, Business Port Pirie’s Deb Allan, Port Pirie Mayor Leon Stephens and employment facilitator Lisa Brock.

Call to reconsider agricultural land tax exemption MARK FILSELL LOBETHAL BRANCH IN 1884 South Australia introduced land tax. We were the first Australian state to do so and revenue from the tax has been flowing into government coffers since 1885. Land tax has always been levied on the unimproved value of the land. Over time, governments brought in exceptions to the rule that land tax was levied on all land in South Australia.

Now, land tax is not levied on agricultural land. Given our esteemed Treasurer has taken steps to create a more equitable land tax system, it may be time to reconsider whether agricultural land should continue to be exempt from land tax. It may be time especially considering the raging debate about whether mining should be allowed on agricultural land. The Government is forgoing millions of dollars in mining royalties due to the vast tracts of South Australia that are exempt from mining because of legislated moratoria or a myriad of other prohibitions.

16 RURAL BRIEFING August 2019 The Hon Neil Andrew AO, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and former chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority (and also former Rural Briefing editor), says the Basin Plan is delivering important environmental outcomes for the Murray-Darling river system.

Basin Plan delivering for Murray HON NEIL ANDREW AO WALKERVILLE BRANCH AS EVERY READER of Rural Briefing knows, this is a land of ‘droughts and flooding rains’. Water from the Murray Darling-Basin is the only tangible insurance this State has against the reality of drought, and drought is gripping much of Australia right now. In an ‘average’ year 500,000 gigalitres of rain falls in the Basin. The catchment stretches from Toowoomba to Goolwa. Around 90% of this precipitation evaporates or is used by adjoining vegetation, leaving approximately 33,000 GL in stream. In reality this all belongs to the environment but since European settlement we have been ‘borrowing’ a portion of this flow for irrigation. We should celebrate what modern irrigation is doing for the national economy; the Murray-Darling Basin generates over $20 billion annually. However a dramatic increase in irrigation from 1950-2000 resulted in about 13,000 GL being diverted to commercial uses. The negative environmental impact was apparent. The Murray mouth closed. The 13,000 GL had to be reduced and a target of about 10,000 GL for irrigation was agreed. The Federal Parliament has never had any Constitutional power over water use. It is state legislation that governs how water will be used and where.

Liberal Party members applauded Prime Minister John Howard’s innovative decision to establish a Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), comprising all Basin state and territory governments in cooperation with the Commonwealth, and his commitment to what became a $13 billion Basin Plan. The target was to redirect at least 3000 GL to environmental purposes. This initiative has been embraced by all successive Labor and Coalition governments. Mother nature guarantees that water reform will always be unpredictable. It’s a fertile field for critics and political opportunists. But in spite of the doomsayers the Basin Plan is delivering. It is far from perfect but it is on track and will be totally reviewed in 2024. By then 20% of the water currently allocated to irrigation will be in an environmental pool. More water to move salt to the sea. This water will come not only from direct purchases from willing sellers but also from savings derived by more efficient use. About 50% of water

saved by upgrading irrigation practices is redirected to the environment. Thanks to these government-funded water application efficiency schemes, production across the Basin is rising while commercial water use is falling. Efficiency schemes are an expensive way to acquire water but they allow regional towns to grow while water use falls. This is a Coalition Government strategy that encourages rural communities and implements the goals of Rural and Regional Council members. Riverland-based minister Senator Anne Ruston and Member for Barker Tony Pasin have both had key roles in underwriting rural communities through sustainable water use. In any interstate reform parochialism is always alive and well but contrary to popular opinion, all Basin states are committed to these targets. MDBA programs have to be agreed by all states and everyone recognises that compliance is essential. New South Wales irrigators use 54% of the allocated Basin water. Their government has established an independent water monitoring committee, prosecuted illegal water extraction and dramatically increased its inspectorial staff. SA’s entitlement is just 7% but Minister David Speirs has been proactive in advocating for important environmental flows to this State. Every minister knows that without a healthy environment we cannot have a healthy river.

Profile for Rural.Briefing

Rural Briefing | August 2019  

The August 2019 Edition of Rural Briefing

Rural Briefing | August 2019  

The August 2019 Edition of Rural Briefing