Kimba has been debating the radioactive waste topic for the past two years.
During this time the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Working For Kimba’s Future Group have brought to town many experts in the area of radioactive waste to provide “education” to those of us who are opposed to the development. The department has been making statements that no loss of value to produce or land values will be incurred should this facility be constructed near farming enterprises. They refuse however to provide any guarantees to back these statements.
The department may know a lot about radioactive waste but they don’t know much about my business or the business of farming. They don’t buy my wool, meat or grain so I decided to go to those who do in order to seek some reassurance.
I have spoken to grain industry reps, wool buyers, industry groups (both livestock and grain), stock agents, meat buyers, banks and universities.
Not one of them has been able to provide me with any statements of reassurance or advise that my business will be okay should this go ahead. I can only assume they aren’t able to provide me with this because there are no reassuring words to give.
The fact that our federal government will spend $120 million on the postal ballot for the vote on the right for gay marriage, is evidence of how far our current politicians and media are out of touch with reality.
In a day where technology is deemed to be the most efficient way to go, I find it incredulous that a simple online vote, using a tax file or licence number for proof of identity, was not considered as an infinitely cheaper, more reliable and much quicker option.
This issue has been foisted upon us by a vocal self-interest minority group and a media hell bent on pursuing an issue, which they have deemed to be of importance, when in reality the majority of Australians are more interested in wage growth, employment, climate change, health, education and their future.
To add further insult to injury, after the result of the vote is announced, our politicians can then decide to make a decision which is opposite to the one which we, the electors, decided.
Current politicians, of all persuasions, are bereft of any real leadership and too preoccupied with reacting to the demands of vocal, single-interest minority groups, whose vote they need in the future.
We need to return to the days, when the major political parties actually stood for something which they fervently believed in and the difference between them could easily be distinguished.
The home brand politics of today, has led us to the fractured and eminently weak parliament which currently exists.
Natural Resource Management (NRM) is always a topic for discussion across Eyre Peninsula. The current NRM system was constructed through Legislation in 2004, following the amalgamation of 27 soil boards, 27 pest animal and plant boards, and eight water catchment boards. I was pleased to be a member of the inaugural Eyre Peninsula Management Board (EPNRM), having gained experience in the Landcare movement, Soil Board and a Catchment Management Group.
Although the initial boards operated with some independence from government, in 2011 they were brought under the umbrella of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). This meant that board staff became department staff and the boards themselves lost much of their autonomy. This fact was really sheeted home when in 2016, the NRM levy payable by all owners of land and water licenses including government owned land, increased significantly as a result of the Minister requesting the boards begin recovery of water planning and management costs.
We all understand the importance of managing the natural environment. In fact, those involved in primary production, whether it be agriculture, fishing or aquaculture, are reliant upon a healthy and productive landscape. Healthy soils and clear waterways are paramount to our production systems and we must ensure that health remains as the pressure to produce increases.
With this in mind, the Liberal opposition has recently undertaken a survey in to the state of Natural Resource Management in South Australia. Response was particularly pleasing from Eyre Peninsula residents, who provided about 20 per cent of the total replies. People are still able to participate, should they wish to.
About 70 per cent of the survey returns suggested that improvements could be made to the current NRM structure – in other words, people believe there are ways we could do it better. Information such as this will feed into our policy development in the lead-up to the March 2018 election. Feedback also highlighted the preference for NRM boards to be independent of state government. This fits nicely with our general philosophy that decisions are best made at the local level. The return of local decisions to local community is something we would look to install in health and education also, rather than be given directives from afar.
If Natural Resource Management is to have the confidence and support it deserves, it is imperative we get this right. Thanks to the results of our survey, we have good information, direct from those at the coalface, to feed in to policy development. This will allow for positive outcomes for NRM.
Member for Flinders