Fire bill amendment concerns addressed in inquiry

Police could have the power to stop farmers harvesting if the fire risk is likely instead of Country Fire Service volunteers in new recommendations made to address concerns on a proposed bill.

The state government's Fire and Emergency Services (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill raised concerns in November for its ability to stop farmers harvesting and the lack of public consultation.

Industry concerns led to a select committee inquiry and four public hearings, including one in Port Lincoln.

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar, who led the inquiry, gave 10 recommendations this month to address concerns on how the proposed powers would be exercised and by who.

He said many farmers were CFS volunteers and the proposed legislation could see them leave the service.

"Grain producers were particularly concerned that CFS officers and volunteers would be given the power to direct producers to cease harvesting operations," he said.

"In a small regional community, this burden is difficult and may impinge on future personal and/or business relationships."

He said support was shown for SAPOL to take on the role if they acted on the advice of local CFS and council fire prevention officers.

Mr Treloar said authorities had limited power to direct farmers who disregarded the voluntary Grain Harvest Code of Practice.

"Overwhelmingly, evidence... indicates that the rate of noncompliance with the code is extremely low," he said.

The committee also heard that a small minority of producers continue to harvest in dangerous conditions.

Grain Producers SA chief executive officer Caroline Rhodes said SAPOL would be "more appropriate" for the role and called on the government to adopt the recommendations.

Mr Treloar said the next step was for Minister for Emergency Services Corey Wingard to decide if the recommendations would be adopted before the bill's third reading.