Right to Farm Bill

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: I would like to make a few comments in relation to this bill. It is very late in the evening, and we are actually now in the last day of sitting before the next election. The Hon. Robert Brokenshire introduced this bill, and I spoke on the second reading perhaps 12 months or two years ago, quite some time ago. I think he called for a vote on 18 May 2016, or somewhere around that time.

We have always supported the principle of the Hon. Robert Brokenshire trying to give some certainty to farmers. I have just been reading some notes that we prepared for our party room and it is interesting that this is virtually the same bill that, I think, he introduced prior to the 2014 election, and before that I think there was a Right to Farm Bill that he introduced before the 2010 election. He has been consistent on this particular issue.

The Liberal Party has a number of concerns around some of the planning changes. One in particular that I am quite concerned about is the buffer zones when you have a change of land use, whether it is from farming to residential or industrial, or a change of agriculture from broadacre grain growing to viticulture or horticulture. They are some real issues that I do not think the member's bill deals with in any great detail.

He also does not really address mining in this particular piece of legislation. I know that he has a mining ombudsman's bill, but this does not address mining. Given the real issues that are confronting me as the shadow minister at the moment, of course we have agreed not to deal with the mining bill because of the concerns in the rural community and the lateness in the parliamentary year. It is quite complex, and I think it is probably better to deal with a lot of the issues that the honourable member was trying to deal with.

I will quickly refer to a couple of submissions. I indicate that we will support the bill, but also indicate that we are concerned about the interaction between agriculture and other industrial activities and changes of land use, and, from an opposition point of view, we are not committing to implementing the honourable member's bill.

I have a 2016 letter from Grain Producers SA, where they say they have their own subcommittee and are looking through the issues around the right to farm. They say they support the intent of the Right to Farm Bill, but it is not clear exactly what farming activities are protected. They ask:

Are all farming activities going to need to be prescribed activities, what does that mean and will that place another regulatory burden on what farmers can and can't do on their properties? We would be interested in seeing more detail around the Bill.

I do not believe we have had that much more detail. They say:

The objects of the Bill could possibly go further and specify the need to provide protection of farming activities over a list of other activities such as incursions from mining operations, nuisance claims for example. Will this Bill provide protection for farmers from nuisance complaints and actions about noise, stubble burning, waste, etc. particularly those arising from the interface between farming and expanding urban centres, or for changes in land use?

I do not think the honourable member's bill really addresses that. The GPSA then goes on to talk about some changes in Queensland:

An example of such a review is in Queensland which recently passed the Regional Planning…Interests Act 2014 and Regional Planning Interests Regulation 2014.

It goes on:

Under this Act, Queensland local government planners, State regional planners, farmers or policy makers, are committed to considering the following nine principles to achieve a healthy agricultural sector at the regional and local level.

Those nine are:

1. Agriculture in the economy

2. The natural resource base

3. Lot sizes for productive agriculture

4. Land Use conflict:

1. Avoid land use conflict

2. Manage existing land use conflict

5. Sustainable natural resource management

6. Diversified agricultural enterprises

7. Infrastructure for agriculture and supply chains

8. Support services for agriculture

9. Multiple values of agricultural land

They cite that as one example. There will be a new government of whatever persuasion after the election, so maybe the honourable member may like to progress this a little bit earlier in the cycle.

There are examples in other states where this has been dealt with. I have some clippings here from The Weekly Times that discuss issues about pigs and chickens that have been dealt with recently in Victoria. Headlines include: 'Chook rules ease', 'Right Fight Win', 'Proposals offer clarity for pig operations' and 'Right-to-farm victory cuts farmers' red tape'. There are examples of the good work being done in other states. We should not look to reinvent the wheel. Given the lateness of the parliamentary sitting and that there is no prospect of this progressing any further, maybe I could urge the honourable member to bring this back earlier in the cycle.

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire: You won't have to urge me. It'll be back day one.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: That will be good, if it is back day one; I think it is important. As I said, we will support it. I have this year's Primary Producers SA Policy Document 2018 State Election. They list a number of headings: NRM; Water planning and management; Electricity (a massive concern to Primary Producers); Mining and Gas; Research, Development and Extension and Science and Technology; PIRSA and SARDI; SafeWork SA; Financial Issues; Telecommunications; Transport; and Health and Education. But nowhere in this particular document from Primary Producers SA do they talk about the right to farm. Clearly, it is an issue, but it is not a front-of-mind issue. It is not something that the peak farming body that represents horticulture, agriculture, viticulture—all of them—has seen as an important issue.

I am just trying to circumvent things a little to say the opposition will support the bill. We think there is a lot more work that needs to be done, but we are happy to support it in the lead-up to the election. I urge the honourable member to put it on the agenda early in the cycle rather than leave it for a couple of years and then two years later bring it to a vote.

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