PREMIER Steven Marshall and Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone flew from the Eyre Peninsula to Manna Hill in the state’s North East, as part of its drought tour last week.
Livestock SA chief executive officer Andrew Curtis said the drought, wild dogs and kangaroos were key concerns raised at the meeting.
“The local farmers are familiar with variable seasons but factors they can’t manage, such as kangaroos, has made it worse than it otherwise would be,” he said.
“Not only are they eating out the little pastures remaining, but they are also impacting soils and water resources.”
Mr Whetstone said pastoralists were a “resilient bunch” but agreed kangaroo numbers were out of control.
“We will look into how we can further promote commercial harvests of kangaroos and reassess the permit process – if we can streamline that process, then that’s what we will do,” he said.
From Manna Hill, the government’s chartered plane headed south to Pinnaroo, where the pollies had a look around before making the drive through the Mallee to Karoonda, where another drought forum was held.
Mr Whetstone said sustainable communities, including the importance of keeping schools and hospitals open, was a key theme.
“It’s a tough game when you don’t have services to retain people, particularly in the local horticulture and broadacre industries,” he said.
Mr Whetstone said the government were working with the federal government on a pilot visa workforce program, which aimed to make finding and hiring semi-skilled workers easier.
The state government’s GM moratorium was also raised at the meetings.
Mr Whetstone said he was expecting a draft report on Monday, from the independent review undertaken by agriculture policy analyst Emeritus Professor Kym Anderson.
“I expect in the first quarter of this year I will have a finalised report on how we should move forward to support SA’s economy and agricultural industries,” he said.