Producers call for more recognition

Primary Producers SA chairman Rob Kerin.
Primary Producers SA chairman Rob Kerin.

Changes to the natural resource management system and more emphasis on research and development are among issues Primary Producers SA is campaigning on in the lead up to the March state election.

Food, wine and fibre exports have increased by more than 50 per cent over the last decade, while non-agricultural merchandise exports have not increased, and agriculture has contributed more than the overall 20 per cent increase.

Executive chairman Rob Kerin said this underlined the importance of the primary production sector.

Mr Kerin said the cost of doing business was the biggest issue for primary producers with energy and water costs hurting some industries badly.

“PPSA would like to see the large increases in NRM levies and the Emergency Services Levy addressed.

“These levies have hit the bottom line directly, reducing competitiveness.”

He said transport was another major cost and the organisation would like to see all parties commit to suporting the 90-Day Transport Project, which was making major progress in reducing these costs. 

Mr Kerin said the NRM system had lost the confidence of many primary producers, who felt it was too bureaucratic and had a “top down” focus.

He said PPSA wanted to see more emphasis on research, development and extension, and biosecurity.

“PPSA also want PIRSA (Primary Industries and Regions SA) maintained as a standalone department, with SARDI (SA Research and Development Institute) a unit of PIRSA.”