SA-BEST TO PROTECT OUR VALUABLE FARM LAND
SA-BEST will ensure that farmers will have greater rights in order to protect the State’s $21 billion in annual agriculture revenue, as a key issue in any negotiations should SA-BEST be in a balance of power situation after Saturday’s state election.
Candidate for Narungga, agronomist Sam Davies, says the party is vowing to strengthen legislative protections for agricultural land in line with calls made by Primary Producers SA and Grain Producers SA.
He says it is imperative that farmers’ rights-including in his seat on the Yorke Peninsula- are better protected to preserve farmland for future generations, secure agricultural production over the long term, and secure the 1 in 5 jobs currently provided in agriculture, food, wine, forestry and related industries.
“Less than five per cent of South Australia’s land mass is suitable for dry land agriculture to grow crops such as wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas and lentils and a further three per cent for high rainfall grazing” said Sam.
“We must strengthen protections for that land for competing uses. These are precious assets which can’t be replaced.
“Under the current Mining Act, the legislation does not give any rights to adjoining landowners to object to a mining operation. Only the farmer on whose land the mining operation is proposed has rights of appeal and compensation.”
Under the SA-BEST proposal, adjoining properties will have the right to object to mining proposals on the basis of the potential impact on their property and viability of their agricultural enterprise. This could include factors, such as potential contamination from the Mining Operation, groundwater contamination, and license conditions to ensure that they are not adversely impacted.
Sam Davies is also calling for the Mining Bill - currently before the SA Parliament - to be subjected to a review before it proceeds, to ensure there are mechanisms in place that will further strengthen protections for the agricultural industry.
Sam Davies and SA-BEST are also advocating to establish a Mining Ombudsman and a financial fund that farmers can access, to deal with legal matters associated with encroachment by mines.
Sam is also advocating for a fast track statutory compensation fund for any farmer adversely affected by an approved mining operation, including adjoining landowners, as well as the power to revoke a mining licence if a material condition has been breached.
“The major parties have failed to heed the reasonable concerns of farmers. What SA-BEST is proposing will greatly strengthen their rights, so our agricultural sector can grow and prosper,” said Sam.