FUND IS BAD NEWS FOR AG
In its 2019-20 state budget, the Liberal government announced the establishment of an Accelerated Discovery Fund to provide $10 million across three years to encourage resource exploration and "drive new major mineral discoveries" in SA.
While it may be appropriate to use taxpayer monies to foster resource development in less settled areas of SA, using such funding to encourage further exploration in our agricultural land is not acceptable.
If that is the government's intention, it constitutes another 'slap in the face' for farmers in the state's grain, wine and horticultural regions who want stronger legislative protections against such activities.
SA has only 5 per cent of agricultural land left. Yet instead of following the lead of other Australian jurisdictions that have legislated to safeguard their sustainable agricultural land from mining, this government is doing the opposite.
Through this new ADF and inflexible support for a mining bill rejected by farmers' groups across the state, the Liberals are prioritising resource development at the expense of agriculture's long-term viability.
CUT BACK ON PACKAGING
The chorus of concern about the rise in the Solid Waste Levy, while justified, is a clear signal that we need to do something about the amount of waste that we send to our rubbish tips.
Back in the day, packaging was minimal and plastic was unheard of.
Milk was collected in a billy, bread was wrapped in tissue paper, clothing items were bought loosely and fish and chips were wrapped in newspaper.
Wind forward to today and the problem is obvious - too much is packaged and plastic is over-utilised.
Perhaps the shock of the levy rise will make producers of products eliminate packaging or force them to use materials that can be recycled or reused.
The bill will go down if the amount of solid waste is reduced.
IGNORE CLAIMS ABOUT LAKES
To protect the Lower Lakes of the River Murray, where a considerable number of farmers depend on irrigation and fresh stock water from the river, it will be necessary for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to view the whole resource from 'source-to-sea'.
Blind Freddy can see that the water has been over-allocated and the shortages create arguments where users tend to blame others as they attempt to retain their own allocation.
Many upstream users in the eastern states advocate the Lower Lakes being sacrificed by building a weir at Wellington and decommissioning the barrages, allowing sea water to penetrate from the Murray Mouth to Wellington.
Apart from the farmers missing out on fresh water, some of the population below Wellington is also supplied with river water for human consumption.
Another ill-informed claim is that too much water is wasted as it flows to the sea. The fact is that so little water reaches the mouth that sand pumping has been undertaken in an attempt to keep the mouth open.
The claim for the weir is based on the expanse of more shallow water in the lakes, which suffers higher evaporation. But, all rivers become more shallow and wide toward the end as they become more delta-like. This natural feature must be considered as part of the whole.
It is just too easy for critics from remote upstream areas to advocate the demise of the Lower Lakes as they wish to save some water for themselves.
I wonder how they would react if we hypothetically suggested the Hume Dam be decommissioned?