Legislative Council: Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Petrol and Energy Costs

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (15:06): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development regarding rising petrol and energy prices.

Leave granted.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: Whilst many primary producers will try to minimise their fuel and energy prices as the prices climb, most expenses are unavoidable. For example, if you are a grain grower, things like putting the seed in the ground, putting fertiliser on it and spraying your weeds must all be done, and they all require growers to burn some diesel. It means the outlays are much, much higher and therefore the risks carried on the investment are much, much higher. My questions are:

1. Has the minister discussed with the Premier the impact of increasing petrol and energy costs on regional agricultural businesses?

2. What is the minister's plan to help regional agricultural businesses impacted by dramatic increases in petrol and energy costs?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:07): I thank the honourable member for her question. Issues around cost of living, as well as impacts on particular industry areas, are constant discussions we have within the Malinauskas Labor government, both within cabinet and in the broader context. Members would be aware of a number of initiatives that have been put in place to address some of the cost-of-living issues that are within our remit, such as an increase in assistance for education costs for children and so on—all of which, of course, are experienced in our regional areas as well.

We are looking overall at a number of issues that will assist in the long term with assistance for energy prices in particular, and the hydrogen plan that we announced prior to the election—and which is now taking its first steps—is a huge part of that. We want to ensure that we have better, cheaper energy for industries across South Australia and that, of course, includes regional areas.

A number of the issues the honourable member touches on fall into other portfolio areas as well. I am happy to take those aspects of the question on notice and bring an answer back to the chamber.