Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:05): My question is for the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister please update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government is delivering the $7.5 million red meat and wool program and how this is creating job opportunities and growing the economy.
The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:06): I thank the member for Hammond for his important question. Certainly, his electorate is part of the sheep and beef country of South Australia, and we are seeing the rebuilding of the Thomas Foods abattoir occurring in his electorate—a fantastic facility being built there that will not just serve South Australia but will see also cattle coming probably down from Queensland and the Northern Territory to be processed here in South Australia
The $7½ million that is being put towards the red meat and wool program is very much to boost herd and flock sizes and help farmers be more productive and profitable. We are seeing that, particularly following the drought periods, there have been challenging times facing farmers in rebuilding their herds, and there have been some programs run by PIRSA to help people understand how best to rebuild their herds.
It's not a simple thing of just breeding your stock numbers up; you actually need to do it in a way that is sustainable and giving you an income on the way through. Helping farmers have those strategies to rebuild their herds is giving a long-term opportunity for these farmers to be supporting the South Australia economy.
The red meat and wool industry in South Australia has the largest manufacturer employer numbers of over 30,000 jobs in this sector. There are 950,000 head of cattle, and more than 11 million sheep are producing 57 million kilograms of wool annually in this state, with a total processing value of $2.4 billion and $1.5 billion in exports. There have been significant challenges with the declining stock numbers and the high cost of production and the challenging access to certain market requirements.
Working with the industry, we are meeting those challenges. We are trying to give the opportunity for these farmers to actually take advantage of getting into the premium markets and making sure they meet the requirements of those markets and supply premium cattle and sheep to those markets. That's why we are encouraging traceability in saleyards through the installation of electronic identification technology so that we can better control the data management and make better decisions in relation to those cattle.
We are also encouraging agtech and the adoption of agtech down at Struan. We are very much focusing on livestock, and the opportunities that are there within the livestock industries, to actually improve the output of those properties and see that we are able be a sector that is able to deliver for the South Australian economy and the South Australian people.