Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Agricultural Sector

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (15:04): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme and the Future Drought Fund and their importance to our ag sector moving forward?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:05): I thank the honourable member for his question. This year's state budget has seen significant investment in extending two programs that are important to our state's primary producers: the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme and the Future Drought Fund.

The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is an Australian government initiative in partnership with the states, and will now continue through until 30 June 2024 or when funding is fully allocated. The South Australian government has committed $4.2 million in this year's state budget to the scheme to assist primary producers impacted by drought or natural disaster with rebates for the installation of critical on-farm water infrastructure.

This program has helped and will continue to help build resilience and is yet another measure that we can take at both state and federal levels to instil confidence in our primary producers and ensure that our state remains a premium producer of the world's best food and fibre, no matter what our farmers must face along the way with natural disasters, such as drought.

The state government has also committed $5.5 million over three years to extend the Farm Business Resilience Program, the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program and the SA Drought Hub. The Farm Business Resilience Program helps farmers build knowledge and skills in farm-related business management and planning, in risk management and decision-making, in natural resource management and resilience by providing training and education that includes things like workshops, webinars and one-on-one coaching that can assist with such things as developing a farm business plan.

Importantly, the program was recently extended to South Australian grapegrowers, and the Wine Grape Council of South Australia will be delivering that program in the Riverland, Limestone Coast and Langhorne Creek regions. Delivery of the program continues for the livestock sector and proposals have been received from the dairy and vegetable sectors to continue the rollout of the program to new and existing participants.

The Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program supports partnerships between key regional stakeholders and local government, regional development associations, natural resource organisations and others to develop regional drought resilience plans to prepare for and manage future drought risks that are specific to those regions. Providing certainty to this program builds upon the good work already done in many parts of the state and will see planning continue in other areas, such as the Far North and outback.

The SA Drought Hub is one of eight hubs around the nation through the federal Future Drought Fund Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Program. The hub is led by the University of Adelaide and is a partnership between government, government departments, traditional owners, industry, business and farmers. Its key focus is on increasing preparedness for future droughts across South Australia that impact so heavily on regional communities.

Additionally, PIRSA is partnering with Primary Producers SA to deliver the 'Preparing primary industries for the impacts of compounding and complex disasters' project that has an industry-led approach to examine the risks of compounding disasters on farmers and on their livelihoods. All of these programs are of course important to our state's agricultural sector and all build on the extensive knowledge and resilience that our farmers and producers already possess, which sees us as a state known worldwide for our clean, green and sustainable food and fibre.

I am pleased that our government places such importance on these programs and we recognise the economic and social benefits that our strong agricultural sector provides to all South Australians, no matter which part of the state they live in.