South Australia’s agriculture sector will get an $18.7 million boost in the Marshall Liberal Government’s State Budget 2021-22 across a range of new initiatives to help support economic recovery, grow the industry and create local jobs.
A new $1.3 million a year AgTech Adoption Program ($5.2 million over the forward estimates) will increase the take up of technology by primary producers to drive improvements in efficiency.
Drought support will get a further boost with $5.2 million to fund another round of the hugely popular On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme. This will help more than 200 drought-affected farmers to install vital water infrastructure such as water storages, pumps and pipes.
The Marshall Liberal Government is also providing $4.4 million to help establish a ‘Drought Hub’ in South Australia to help better prepare farmers for drought and improve resilience.
The South Australian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub will be headquartered at University of Adelaide’s Roseworthy campus and supported by five nodes throughout regional South Australia at Minnipa, Port Augusta, Orroroo, Loxton and Struan.
Rural financial counselling and family and business support mentor programs will receive an extra $2.2 million over three years. These programs provide support to those impacted by adverse events such as drought to help manage current challenges and better prepare for the future.
The grains sector will also invest $1.7 million over 5 years to contain, treat and prove freedom from the potentially devastating pest Lens Snail.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said these new initiatives will build on existing programs to help grow South Australia’s agriculture industry.
“South Australia’s regions are crucial for the future prosperity of our state contributing around $29 billion to the state’s economy supporting more than 180,000 jobs,” Minister Basham said.
“The Marshall Liberal Government will always back our farmers to help grow South Australia’s economy and create jobs and these new initiatives will help achieve that.
“Our primary producers are some of the most innovative in the world, yet we lag behind in our uptake of AgTech. Our new AgTech Adoption Program will drive the take up of technology leading to increased productivity and profitability.
“Many farmers across South Australia have had a challenging few years firstly with drought, bushfires and then the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our farmers are a critical part of our state economy and the importance of agriculture across the country has been further highlighted during the pandemic.
“By expanding our support programs such as the on-farm water infrastructure rebate we will fast track economic recovery and better prepare our farmers for future adverse events.
“Biosecurity will continue to be a priority for our government as we work together with industry to build on our clean, green reputation and eradicate potentially devastating pests fruit fly and Lens Snail.
“These new initiatives build on the Marshall Liberal Government’s Regional Development Strategy and the $3 billion of investment across more than 1,000 projects across the regions, to create thousands of jobs and better lives for South Australians across our regions.
“Our Budget for a stronger South Australia is creating jobs, building what matters and delivering better services to further secure our growing global reputation as one of the safest and most attractive places in the world to live, work and raise a family.”