Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:58): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government is building what matters by investing in water infrastructure for drought-affected farmers?
The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (14:58): I thank the member for Hammond for a very important question. Drought is a devastating thing that farmers face in their business on a regular basis here in South Australia. It is something that we need to help them with to get them more resilient going forward.
One of the key things that we have been working on is a benefit that has been seen in the electorate of Hammond, as well as elsewhere, which is the uptake of the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.
In Hammond itself, in the council areas of Mid Murray, Coorong, Southern Mallee, Karoonda East Murray and the Rural City of Murray Bridge there have been over 150 successful applicants in that space, which has been really important for those businesses to do infrastructure improvements to underpin their business going forward, particularly during those drought periods.
We have seen the livestock industry and the farmers involved jointly funded—up to 939 farmers—with a payout of more than $12½ million between February 2019 and April 2021. This is a great benefit to those communities. We will see those farms being much more resilient going forward and making sure they have stock water available on a consistent level going forward. Whether they are able to underpin some of their horticultural areas, their crops, etc., it's certainly given an opportunity for these farmers going forward.
This is really important infrastructure that we are seeing them build. It's not just tanks, etc. It's pipework, it's troughs, it's everything that a livestock farmer needs to make sure they are able to operate in very dry conditions. We have also announced a new round jointly with the commonwealth—another $5.2 million—where farmers can apply for this new round going forward. Also, on top of that we have seen an extra round, particularly focused on Kangaroo Island itself, with 600,000 available to those farmers specifically, recognising the impact they have faced through the bushfires.
In bushfires, sadly, often there is significant damage to water infrastructure, whether tanks are destroyed by the fire, whether they be poly tanks or even steel corrugated iron tanks that don't handle the heat as a fire goes through and they are lost. Pipework can be burnt. There are so many opportunities that we need to underpin going forward to make sure they can recover from those circumstances.
We have also seen investment in the drought hub, the Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub. This is very much a new program, working with the commonwealth, where, based at Roseworthy at the Adelaide University's campus, we will be working in nodes to actually underpin the research, extension and adoption of technologies to help farmers in drought. We will be working on looking at a variety of trials.
We will be working on the adoption of agtech. It will all help farmers underpin their properties going forward as we approach the next drought. We know the next drought is on its way. It's one of the factors that we face here in South Australia, that we know there is another drought coming. We need to make sure that the farmers are as ready as they can be, that they have the resources. We need to underpin these jobs going forward. We are building what matters and delivering services here in South Australia and particularly in the regions.
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