According to a statewide survey, Hammond landowners and water licence holders being slammed by rising Natural Resources Management (NRM) system fees believe their levies are too high and are not even aware of how they are being spent.
The survey on the Natural Resources Management (NRM) system launched in April this year by Shadow Minister for Environment, David Speirs, also revealed that an overwhelming majority of respondents are dissatisfied with the current NRM system.
The survey will assist in the development of the State Liberals’ NRM policy to be announced before the March 2018 election.
The current NRM system was constructed by the Labor Government in 2004 following the amalgamation of 27 soil boards, 27 pest animal and plant boards and 8 water catchment boards.
The statewide survey revealed that:
- 70 per cent of respondents were not satisfied with the current NRM system;
- 70 per cent of respondents believe NRM boards should be independent of the State Government;
- 95 per cent of respondents believe the community should be able to nominate board members in their region;
- 50 per cent of respondents believe their levies are too high; and
- 65 per cent of respondents don’t even know how their levy funds are being spent.
Member for Hammond, Adrian Pederick said ongoing feedback from people in the electorate points to an NRM system that is not working as it should be.
“The survey demonstrates the lack of confidence in the way the Weatherill Labor Government is managing the NRM system,” Mr Pederick said.
“Irrigators and landowners in Hammond were disgusted with the $6.8 million NRM Levy increase last year without justification.
“The people paying the levy should have a fundamental say in where that levy is spent and it is clear the current system is not providing that.”
Shadow Minister for Environment, David Speirs, said the NRM system has become a dysfunctional and wasteful administrative bureaucracy which has disenfranchised effective local volunteer groups such as Landcare.
“South Australian levy payers do not think that the NRM Board structure is working well in their region and they’re dissatisfied with current consultation practices,” he said.
“The NRM system has become just another taxation system for the Weatherill Government.”