I welcomed the State Government's recent announcement of the funding of $2 million over four years for the Regional Capability Community Fund, to support farmers and farming businesses to purchase equipment to create or make safer Farm Fire Units.
This fund will reimburse approved purchases in full or a portion of, from $200 to $3,000, with one application permitted per individual or business which have fire units registered with the CFS.
Applications for 2022-23 (round one) opened on July 25 and will close on 21 August. For more information visit: https://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/farms/
Foot and Mouth
With the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Indonesia, I have spoken with a number of primary producers wary of the disease's arrival so close to our shores.
I have reached out to the Minister for Agricultura seeking assurances the government is doing all it can to prevent the disease from arriving here in South Australia.
The Minister advised a number of measures are currently in place including extra resources from PIRSA and the Commonwealth at our airports, which includes biosecurity officers boarding planes to speak directly with passengers.
I urge all holiday makers , especially during the busy school holiday period, when returning from Bali to be extra vigilant and ensure they abide by Australian Customs regulations.
Australian has been free of FMD since 1872 and its arrival in Bali is the closest it has been to our shores since 1986.
Riverlea development, Buckland Park intersection
During the last sitting week, I took the opportunity to question the Minister for Transport regarding the Buckland Park traffic lights.
The Minister's predecessor previously confirmed the development was approved in 2010 and, given the state government has made significant infrastructure investments since to ensure the free flow of traffic from South Road to Port Augusta, it seems wildly counter-intuitive to have these lights remain in place.
In questioning the Minister, I urged the government to consider bringing forward the developer's time line to upgrade the intersection to alleviate the tremendous inconvenience now caused to motorists and transport operators travelling on Highway One.
The Minister agreed the intersection along Port Wakefield Road is inept and whilst an "A grade" separation is an expensive solution, it is something they are looking at whilst closely monitoring traffic volumes.
Solar feed in tariffs
Recently my office has received an influx of communication regarding residential solar feed-in tariffs.
The generalised complaint is private energy providers have significantly reduced consumers' solar rebates.
The Minister for Energy explained when questioned during the most recent sitting week retailers are offering less to consumers due to an oversupply of electricity during the day, causing the energy price to go negative through the market.
With the oversupply of solar-generated energy causing the demise of consumer feed-in tariffs, I have written to the Minister seeking clarification around the increased development of solar farms, especially within our electorate.
I have also sought comment on how the government plans to better harness this oversupply and in doing so how this could possibly positively impact consumers' feed-in tariffs in the future.
I look forward to the Minister's response in due course, when Parliament resumes in September after the current winter break.