Legislative Council: Thursday, October 20, 2022


Livestock Industry

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:45): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development a question about technology to assist livestock farmers.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S. LEE: Pioneering South Australian satellite communications company Myriota has recently announced that it has joined forces with water pump manufacturer Grundfos Australia to build and sell a unique solar powered and satellite connected system that allows farmers to remotely monitor water pumps and water tanks. Myriota's satellite connected sensors are attached to Grundfos' European manufactured, solar powered water pumps, so farmers can then use a mobile app to track water levels, with 12 updates daily.

At a time when farmers across the country are struggling with chronic labour shortages, the system is designed to save time, fuel and labour by negating the need for farm and station workers to manually check water levels to ensure stock have access to a drink. Ten of those new water pumps are now in operation at trial sites across North Queensland, the Northern Territory and regional New South Wales. My questions to the minister are:

1. Has the Malinauskas Labor government received any correspondence from Grundfos Australia or Myriota, or a third party representing them, seeking support or incentives to establish trials in South Australia?

2. Has the minister met with any representatives from those companies?

3. Has the Malinauskas Labor government offered any support or incentive to Myriota to establish trials of this groundbreaking technology in South Australia?

4. Has the minister received a briefing from her department on this groundbreaking technology to support a South Australian company?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:47): I thank the honourable member for her question. In terms of whether the Malinauskas Labor government has received any correspondence from the various parties to which the honourable member referred, I am happy to take that on notice. It's a fairly broad question, though, I might say, whether any member of the government has received correspondence from those various parties. I will see what I am able to bring back.

Where there are important technological innovations and advances, it is something our government is always keen to find out more about. The honourable member has mentioned a particular company. What I would normally do, if approached by a particular company, is invite them to contact the department and potentially meet appropriately, for reasons of transparency, with those who may be able to give them advice or, for example, talk about whether the equipment or innovation is perhaps appropriate for one of the demonstration farms.

I was very pleased, a few weeks ago, to be able to visit the demonstration farm at Struan in the South-East and see a lot of the innovations and agtech that has been available for people to see there. It's an important part of farmers being able to, if you like, touch and feel and talk to people about where things might be appropriate for their own needs.

In terms of whether I have met, I could check my diary but, given that the Leader of the Opposition is always FOI-ing my diary, I suggest that the honourable member speaks to her colleague and she can find out for herself.