Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 16, 2022


Kangaroo Island Farm Business Management Project

The Hon. T.T. NGO (14:52): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister update the chamber on the completion of the Kangaroo Island farm business management workshops?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:52): I thank the member for his question. I am always pleased to talk about Kangaroo Island because I know the Hon. Mr Pangallo is always pleased to hear—

The Hon. F. Pangallo: And Mr Wortley.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: And the honourable member, Mr Wortley, absolutely. I had the opportunity to visit Kangaroo Island last week once again, where I spoke at and presented awards at the Kangaroo Island farm business management workshop in Kingscote. Following the 2019-20 bushfires on the island, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) secured nearly $30 million in funding to support the short, medium and long-term recovery of bushfire-impacted primary producers.

We know of course that Kangaroo Island plays a key role in contributing to our state's agribusiness industry. In 2020-21, South Australia's primary industries and agribusiness generated revenue of over $15 billion. One of the initiatives that received funding is the Kangaroo Island Farm Business Management Project. This was an $825,000 project aimed at building a primary producer culture focused on overall long-term economic, environmental and social resilience.

To date, 50 producers across 30 different businesses have participated in this project. Of course, as we all know, the 2019-20 fires on Kangaroo Island caused enormous damage to the area, covering over 200,000 hectares and the loss of 129 homes, over 300 vehicles, nearly 60,000 livestock and, tragically, two lives were lost.

Since the fires the island has been working to restore their livelihoods and improve the island's economic, physical, cultural and environmental assets. As members would be aware, recovery from a disaster of this nature is a complex and lengthy process and requires a unique response. During my time speaking to primary producers impacted by the fire who then participated in the fire management course, it was clear that they all have definitely a desire to succeed and have worked very hard to develop clear and responsible succession plans, which will set up their farms moving forward. This was among a number of other outcomes of the program.

I want to particularly thank Jeanette Gellard, who was the project lead, from Coo-ee Collective and who has played a key role in the running of this project, along with the chair of Agriculture Kangaroo Island, Jamie Heinrich, and Steph Wurst, the deputy chair. During the presentations of the certificates last week, Jeanette invited participants to share their experience with the program and talk about what they have gained from undertaking it. It was clear from listening to the participants that they have gained an enormous amount from the program.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the participants who completed this program and who, I am glad to say, all reported gaining very useful experiences and skills from it, and also thanking PIRSA staff who have been involved in this program as well as all those who continue to play a vital role in the bushfire response on Kangaroo Island.