Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:15): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister explain to the house how the Marshall Liberal government is investing in projects to benefit communities in the Adelaide Hills?

The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:15): I thank the member for Hammond for his very important question. The government is investing strongly in our regions with the establishment of the $160 million Regional Growth Fund to generate new businesses and jobs, and opportunities in the regions is a key part of underpinning that investment in those regions. We have seen $60 million committed so far from the Regional Growth Fund, which has leveraged $373.9 million in total project value.

One of the key projects that we have seen delivered in this area is something that is very important as of today with the storms that have gone through. We have seen reports coming in as we speak about the damage that has occurred in some of our horticultural sector, as well as our grains sector, right from Eyre Peninsula, through the Adelaide Hills and up into the Barossa. There is significant storm damage from the large hailstorms that have gone through. One of the key investments that we have been making into the Adelaide Hills is the offer of protection from that hail by putting in netting to actually protect those crops.

We have seen the opportunity for businesses to apply for up to $300,000 per farm to put in the investment to protect their crops from these hailstorms. We have seen so far across the Adelaide Hills and Riverland $8.7 million worth of grants to 97 different farmers across those areas. This is so important. We have seen today crops that have been absolutely decimated when there hasn't been that protection, versus those that actually have the protection having minimal damage. This is such an important investment into those regions.

Unfortunately, it has been difficult to roll this project out just because of the lack of opportunity through suppliers of netting and the fact that there is really only one installer who can actually install these projects. So there is still an opportunity of around $6 million worth of money sitting there waiting to be granted to other producers to put that protection in place, but we haven't been able to actually realise that.

That's certainly a key project that has been invested in this space. As of today, it can be seen how important it is. I think we need to be very sympathetic to those poor farmers who have been out there, who have grown their crops throughout the season this year and have got to this point just to see the significant damage. As we hear the reports, we will work with those commodity groups to see how government can help those farmers through this very difficult time.

The SPEAKER: Thank you, minister. I was very interested to hear that answer as well. In view of the weather today, many members are very concerned about agricultural crops and horticultural crops, including myself. We now turn to questions from the crossbench, and can I acknowledge the minister's efforts in ensuring that we come to those questions at the appropriate time. The member for Florey has the call.

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