A LONGER-than-expected wait for a draft of the reviewed Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989 to be released has not dampened pastoralists' hopes that the state government will design contemporary legislation that meets their needs.
Consultation for the reviewed act closed in October and opposition primary industries spokesperson Eddie Hughes said he was also eager to see the draft released.
"It is important to get this legislation correct and take the time to do that, and although we do not want the state government to rush the process, consultation did close quite some time ago and we still have not seen a draft," he said.
"Since there has not been a review for decades, the government would need as much information as possible to help mould the new legislation.
"But the legislative agenda before government since submissions closed has been very light, so I hope the endeavour behind the scenes is to get this right and give submissions serious consultation to produce accurate legislation."
Mr Hughes said once a draft was released, he would meet with pastoralists to gain feedback about the proposed legislation.
"We can amend the bill when it is put before parliament but it could be an uncontroversial bill with a general consensus about the direction of the industry," he said.
"If the act looks after the interests of the livestock industry, includes appropriate environmental protection and manages potential third party usage, then I will support the bill. What I hope to see soon is a draft to be released and a new consultation period opened."
Lambina Station's Gillian Fennell, Marla, hoped changes to the legislation would result in greater security for pastoralists.
"There is no draft act yet or any other communication from the pastoral sector, so it is hard to know what proposed changes are being considered by the department. Waiting for the communication is very difficult," she said. "We need to have an opportunity to sustainably manage our pastoral leases to help provide certainty for the future.
"We are very excited about the opportunity to have input into a modern act that would hopefully give more opportunity to diversify and further develop our businesses."
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Ms Fennell said if a draft was released soon, it would be well-timed for pastoralists awaiting water allocation plans.
"Parts of the pastoral community are undergoing water allocation reviews, so we are hoping that pastoralists' right to water and land is greatly strengthened in the new legislation," she said.
Livestock SA president Joe Keynes said he was surprised progress to release a draft had not moved forward in recent months.
"There is an expectation that Livestock SA will get a preliminary view of the draft to make sure it meets the requirements of pastoralists but we do not know when that will be," he said.
"I think there was enough time and information for people to make submissions but once the draft is released considerable consultation would be needed before it goes to parliament.
"It is the regulations after the bill is introduced that will require a high level of consultation to make sure this is a contemporary act."
The government was contacted for comment.
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