Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (12:29): I move:

That this house—

(a) recognises the significant value of the agricultural industry and thanks those primary producers who secure over $17 billion per annum to the South Australian economy;

(b) notes that the sheep industry is forecasting the worst fall in prices since 2014, policy-induced disruptions to the sector, and the highest cost of doing business in history; and

(c) calls on the Malinauskas Labor government to condemn the policy actions of the federal government, which is harming the sheep industry and the agricultural sector more broadly.

We do need to acknowledge our primary producers and, as I have many times before, acknowledge that my forebears have farmed in South Australia since 1840, setting up in Plympton first, then moving out to Gawler River and Angle Vale, and then presently at Coomandook where I am in the twentieth year of leasing my property out, and still happily live there and try to keep the motorbikes up to my two boys.

The people in agriculture are all risk takers. They do not need to go to the casino to gamble. They take a gamble every year. Prior to this last 12 months, it is something we probably have not seen in history. Certainly, my father, who left us nine years ago at the age of almost 95, had never seen it, where there was probably about five years in a row where things were pretty good; wool was up, meat prices were up and grains were up. You still had to work diligently to get those rewards, but all the satellites were aligning, which I can assure you pretty well never happens. It never happens. Obviously, that depended if you got rain or you had access to water for irrigation—if that is what you are into—and there have certainly been, notwithstanding, some key struggles in the wine sector.

Just on the wine sector, for the last vintage—and I hope it is better this vintage on the news that perhaps China is getting back on board—grapes from my area in Langhorne Creek were being harvested and put on the ground in some places, and we can also note that the Barossa had the same effect, and this was probably happening in most winegrowing areas. This is a scary thought—but noting the glut of wine. There are about four years of wine in vats across the state and the country, so there is no quick fix for that anytime soon.

Agriculture is getting to be a very expensive pastime to be involved in. I saw on one of these wonderful channels that most of us watch now on Instagram that the new John Deere tractor of 830 horsepower is $US1.2 million, so I would say that is about $2 million here. Obviously, you would want to have a fair operation to be buying one of those, but that just goes to show the level of input that some people have to do, and that is just for a tractor.

I note a lot of my friends at home have upgraded to self-propelled spray units. A lot of these now are retailing at $900,000, close to $1 million new, so they are buying second-hand units where they are still paying $300,000, $400,000 or $500,000. You can well and truly put a harvester in the paddock for about $1 million. I have a friend of mine who has a Gleaner. We call them whiz-bangs. They go whiz and then they go bang. Look, they can reap a lot of grain, but the problem with something like that Allis-Chalmers is that there is not a lot about, and so it is hard to get parts. It is hard enough for anyone at harvest time to get parts. I know from history.

Equipment is expensive. It is a massive input on your land, and buying land, and it is alright if you are getting out of farming, but land is reaching huge prices, and it is the big farmers who probably most of the time have only got the ability to expand. Certainly in our area if you do not have probably a minimum of 3,000 or 4,000 acres, you are not going to make it, and that is going to be a small farm or it probably is already. I know people who started from scratch years ago and they have built up to 9,000 acres and they will have to keep going because they have said, 'We want to put both our son and daughter on the farm,' which is very commendable.

The inputs keep on going. If you look at not just the inputs for machinery but also the inputs for chemicals, obviously the more acres or hectares you do, whatever language you want to use, the more you have to spend, and if you have a dud year you can go down the tube pretty quickly. I have seen major corporations in farming in Western Australia that have been cropping 80,000 acres fall over because they have had a couple of bad years and cannot keep paying the bills. If it is not chemicals, it is fuel and it is fertiliser, and that can be a lottery sometimes. You have to be right on it, making sure you have the orders in to get that in.

With shearing sheep—I do not think I will do another day of it because that might kill me—but now just for the shearer it is about $5 a head. Someone said to me the other day that to pay for the sheep going through your shed costs about $13 per head. That is why some farmers are going to sheep that do not need to be shorn, sheep that shed wool, and I certainly commend the young blokes and ladies who are involved in the industry locally. They are real go-getters who have got into the industry and you can tell they are successful as they are driving Dodge Rams and other vehicles. They are getting in there and having a go in a tough job. I am really pleased that people are willing to either pick up the handpiece or work in the sheds as roustabouts.

Last year we saw a dramatic decline in prices for both sheep and cattle. Cropping held up pretty well, notwithstanding the seasons, but sheep and cattle plummeted during last year, and especially towards the end of the year in regard to sheep. They have had some level of recovery. A lot of people are in the business of trading stock, and a lot of people, especially with big mobs of cattle, got really caught out. They paid too much for cows and calves, pregnancy tested, and they just had to find a way to hold them to get out of them because, otherwise, if they sold them they were going to lose hundreds and hundreds of dollars per head and it would probably almost sink their operation. We have people who operate major feedlots across the state and work hard to turn out stock to put into meat processing facilities.

So there have certainly been some drops in the sheep and cattle markets. Some of that, as I said, has come back, but it is tough. It is a tough business out there. It is about making sure that you have the feed to feed them and, if you have had a bit of a tough year, you will not have the feed, and if you have not grown the hay, you will have to purchase it. One thing that is affecting stock prices is the constant attacks by federal Labor policy on the live sheep or live cattle trade. It was disturbing to find out that footage that I think the ABC aired was to do with a worker on one of these live cattle boats who took a major bribe to set up some footage.

That is disgraceful behaviour, because live cattle and live sheep boats have moved a long, long way from where they were 40 years ago. I went on a live boat here in Port Adelaide about 40 years ago just to have a look. That was doing the job with the technology they had then. I do not know how many wheelbarrows they had on board but that is the way they distributed feed to the thousands of sheep that were transported back then.

Now they have a lot of technology, with the waterers on board, the feed on board and, obviously, the people who look after the stock, whether it be sheep or cattle. There are vets on board and in many cases, if not most cases, the stock come off in better condition than when they got on board.

We have seen different attacks by Labor on the live cattle job up to Indonesia. We saw it happen when I was the shadow minister for agriculture about 12 or 14 years ago. The issues were around live cattle going to Indonesia. Some spokespeople from the federal scene of Labor were saying, 'Yes, they have refrigeration, the end-users, so it's all fine.' I got on the radio and corrected that, and then they had to come back and correct it themselves.

Yes, there is a lot more boxed product going overseas, but there are still a lot of countries. We have $1 billion worth of trade with the Middle East that we still need to support so that we can support our farmers. Certainly, we recently saw a ship turned around and sent back to Perth. There was a lot of media carry-on about this, but a lot of it was politically based. I can assure you that the only money in stock is livestock. That is why it is called the live sheep and live cattle trade. We see the federal Labor Party taking active measures to kill this trade.

What that does is kill the incomes of sheep producers across Australia. Certainly, in Western Australia it has had a dire effect, with people having to shoot thousands of sheep, and people have had to shoot sheep here as well. It is not as bad as the scene we had in the early 1990s, but still many sheep get killed.

These things have flow-on effects where sheep have to, by nature, then be transported to South Australia. That is fine. It is done by stock transporters who know what they are doing. They can get to Nundroo and stop overnight there and unload, and they get watered and fed in yards at the Smith family's operation there. I have seen that; it is a fantastic operation to rest stock overnight and send them on their way.

That is a direct consequence, in many cases, of what is happening in Western Australia with the federal Labor government attacking the live sheep job. The Malinauskas Labor government here needs to stand up for our producers, because it has a direct flow-on effect. I remember years ago when we were running wethers and they were only taking wethers down on the live job. At one stage, the price was about $28 a head, so you knew that was going to be the floor price in the local sheep markets. You certainly need that; you need more competition to make sure everyone gets the right outcome.

I salute our sheep farmers, our beef farmers and our croppers. Alongside the sheep issues at the moment is the electric identification tags, which are quite expensive. I think they are about $3 each. I know there is some proposal about subsidising the tags for $1 each, but someone said to me the other day that it is only for the black and white tags. If you want to tag them by colour—which many people do, so they can either identify stock from their lambing year or whether they are wethers or ewes—it is quite important to have them tagged appropriately.

I was talking to a grower the other day who has 10,000 sheep. He will have a fee of $30,000, because that is where he wants to go. People can argue that it is not much per head, but when you have a lot of little heads running around out there, it is a lot on the bottom line. We must support our farmers. They do a magnificent job in tough conditions and I must say that with the technology what they do with stock is fantastic, as is what they do with grain.

I drive past the grain stacks most days per week at Tailem Bend when I am not up here in Adelaide. You only have to see the amount of grain that is in those stacks that was wrecked in a tough year when there was no spring rain—it was all saved up for summer, when it was not that flash. Obviously, the use of technology to keep the weeds down in summer just shows what farmers can do to adapt, but the thing is the farmers need to adapt across this state. They will adapt. They have to, to keep being successful so that they can profit and look after the generations into the future.

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