Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (14:55): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister update the house about the state government’s election commitment to waive stamp duty on multi-peril crop insurance?
The Hon. L.W.K. Bignell interjecting:
The SPEAKER: The member for Mawson is warned for a second and final time.
The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (14:56): I thank the member for Flinders for his very important question. I, too, understand the implications of crop risk and what multi-peril crop insurance will mean to our primary producers right across South Australia. Yes, it is an election commitment that has been delivered. Legislation has been passed to waive stamp duty on the transaction of the purchase of multi-peril crop insurance. What we are seeing under this commitment is that farmers are now exempt from stamp duty on multi-peril crop insurance. We believe that this is an important step in helping support our food producers who drive a $22½ billion merchandise economy around the state.
Sadly, we have seen primary producers—farmers—who have been impacted. They are impacted, as we speak today, by not only drought, frost and hail but also wind. Sadly, travelling around the state extensively over the last couple of weeks, I managed to see the drought-affected areas, particularly on the West Coast, in the Mid North and in the Murraylands, and the devastating impacts on those farmers. Over on Eyre Peninsula, there was that much sand drift that—if anyone knows what cattle yards look like—there was sand up to the top of the cattle yards, with sand drifts closing off roads. It is a very, very sad sight.
On top of that, areas have been impacted by frost and that has impacted standing crops. That is not only threatening the livelihood of those farmers but also making them live with uncertainty. Multi-peril crop insurance and the exemption of stamp duty mean a huge amount to our farmers and primary producers. What it means now is that they have assurity. They don’t have to deal with the uncertainty of their income. It’s helping them deal with the strain on their mental health. It’s making sure that they are in business for the following year.
Not only are farmers’ livelihoods being impacted by some of the natural disasters but it’s about what it means to communities and the livelihood of family units and making sure that they continue to drive the state’s economy. We have also recently introduced farm debt mediation to support farmers. That is another fantastic election commitment that has been through parliament. The 11 per cent on top of the overall policy costs is a huge win for our primary producers. In South Australia, farmers are given every chance now to succeed and this government is helping them do just that.
Another thing I would like to talk about is that the 10-year average of undercropping in South Australia has an average of a bit over 860 hectares. Multi-peril crop insurance premiums are around $20 for a medium-risk farm and up to $30 a hectare for a higher risk farm. What that means is that it now gives much more certainty and it gives much more promotion to the fact that multi-peril crop insurance could be a great management tool for the farmers of South Australia.
Grain Producers SA has expressed its public support for the policy following legislation passing through the Legislative Council at our last sitting. The Marshall government is once again delivering on our election commitment to support farmers—hashtag #RegionsMatter.