In yet another slap in the face for South Australia’s farming community, the Weatherill Labor Government will discontinue funding for the world renowned Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) in the upcoming State Budget.
“The Weatherill Government’s foolish decision to cut $1 million in research funding to ACPFG will cost South Australia jobs and growth in the critical primary industries sector,” said Shadow Minister Agriculture David Ridgway.
“The ACPFG is a world leading institution, providing vital innovative research and support to South Australia’s primary industries sector, in particular wheat.
“The $1 million funding cut makes a mockery of Jay Weatherill’s claim:
“World leading food, wine and agricultural research will provide the platform from which we will export our ideas, intellectual capital, products and services.”
Premier Weatherill: Agriculture, Food and Wine in South Australia, PIRSA February 2015
“The ACPFG employs over 80 research scientists and staff and may be forced to close its doors if this $1million funding cut is implemented.
“The ACPFG is Australia’s leading institute for innovative agricultural research and critical to the success of the Weatherill Government’s premium food and wine and innovation agenda.
“It is also ironic that the ACPFG is located in Martin Hamilton-Smith’s electorate of Waite.
“Martin Hamilton-Smith said he joined Cabinet so he could better represent his constituents in Waite and had previously strongly advocated for State funding to the ACPFG.
“Hamilton-Smith’s superfluous ministerial office costs twice as much to operate as the Weatherill Government is ripping out of the ACPFG.
“This decision just proves Martin Hamilton-Smith has no voice around the Cabinet table.”
Wheat has consistently been South Australia’s biggest export over the past two decades and production is growing at an average of 70,000 tonnes per year.
“The research and innovation conducted by the ACPFG is absolutely crucial for the long term sustainability and growth of this industry,” said Mr Ridgway.
“The research conducted by the ACPFG helps South Australian farmers deliver improved premium agricultural products and enabling them to produce higher yields in many cases.”