Ridgway to question rural fund erasement

Ridgway to question rural fund erasement


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FUNDING cuts to the primary industries sector and the increasing cost of living in SA is on the agenda in 2017 for Opposition agriculture spokesperson David Ridgway.

FUNDING cuts to the primary industries sector and the increasing cost of living in SA is on the agenda in 2017 for Opposition agriculture spokesperson David Ridgway.

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Mr Ridgway believes the Labor government has abandoned farmers and constantly increased levies, creating an increased cost of living, which farmers simply cannot afford.

“The Labor government has turned its back on the primary industries sector, cutting all funding from the Australian Centre of Plant Functional Genomics and cutting $100 million out of PIRSA’s budget in the forward estimates,” Mr Ridgway said.

“The Labor government has also slugged farmers and households with consistent emergency service levy increases and allowed utility costs to spiral out of control.”

The government has also failed to properly transition renewables, according to Mr Ridgway.

“It has left the state as the most unreliable and with the most expensive electricity in the country,” he said.

“The increasing cost of living, reliability and expense of electricity and primary industries budgetary cuts are a result of reckless Labor policies which must be addressed in 2017.”

“The Labor government has turned its back on the primary industries sector, cutting all funding from the Australian Centre of Plant Functional Genomics and cutting $100 million out of PIRSA’s budget in the forward estimates." - DAVID RIDGWAY

Mr Ridgway said the state Liberals had already announced a number of policies ahead of the 2018 election which will benefit the primary industries sector.

“If elected in 2018, the state Liberals will waive stamp duty on multi-peril crop insurance and introduce legislation to establish a mandatory farm debt mediation process,” he said.

Under a Steven Marshall-led government, he said they would impose a 10-year moratorium on exploration for development of unconventional gas in the Limestone Coast area, and would not support the building of a nuclear waste repository in SA.

The state Liberals have also announced a number of policies to ease the cost of living pressures that affect all SA farmers the hardest, according to Mr Ridgway.

“If elected, the state Liberals will restore the ESL remission to the tune of $90m a year and put a cap on council rates which will provide much-needed financial relief for our primary producers,” he said.

LOOKING AHEAD: Opposition agriculture spokesperson David Ridgway wants to address the increasing cost of living and the crucial cuts to the primary industry sector this year.

LOOKING AHEAD: Opposition agriculture spokesperson David Ridgway wants to address the increasing cost of living and the crucial cuts to the primary industry sector this year.

Mr Ridgway said he was concerned with the fund cuts to important rural research and development and was frustrated with lack of support for primary producers.

“It is disappointing that farmers have had to go it alone,” he said.

“The state government has been cutting all funding to the world-renowned ACPFG which provides crucial research and development for our state’s grain industry.”

Mr Ridgway expected wheat to again be SA’s largest merchandise export, given the anticipated bumper crop season for 2016-17.

“The primary industries sector was responsible for 12 of SA’s top merchandise exports in 2014-15,” he said.

“This demonstrates how critically important this sector is to our state’s economic prosperity.”

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