The Weatherill Labor Government’s investment in primary industries has fallen to a 12 year low in the State Budget.
The 2014/15 budget for PIRSA’s Agriculture, Food and Fisheries program is just $59.8 million – around 35 per cent of what was spent on the same program 5 years ago.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Primary Industries, David Ridgway, condemned the Weatherill Labor Government for its neglect of primary producers and regional South Australia.
"The State Budget is a shocking indictment of the Labor Government’s understanding of the importance of primary producers and flies in the face of commitment to building South Australia’s critical food and wine economy," said Mr Ridgway.
"Building our reputation for premium food and wine is supposed to be one of the Weatherill Government’s Seven Strategic Priorities – how do they expect the industries to flourish with next to no financial support from the State Government?
"Minister Bignell is so fixated on premium and boutique food production, that he is blind to the fact that our large scale commodity producers are the very foundation of the industries."
Mr Ridgway expressed further concern that, by investing in products with a relatively small market share, the Labor Government could put the South Australian economy at further risk.
"The 25 per cent of South Australians who live outside of Adelaide have been consistently ignored by the Labor Government," said Mr Ridgway.
"It’s also now apparent that the Member for Frome Geoff Brock also has no understanding of the importance of primary producers for SA’s economy.
"54 per cent of South Australia’s export earnings, worth $6.9 billion last year, were generated by primary producers and 171,000 jobs are located in regional SA.
"Labor needs to put its money where its mouth is, recognise that these producers support the entire food and wine industry, and make long term investments to secure the growth of these vital industries".