While a review of the state’s Mining Act 1971 has been welcomed, farmers are frustrated with the submissions time frame which falls within the busy harvest period.
“We’re flat chat getting things organised for harvest,” he said.
“For us to put the time and the energy into having meetings to put our point of view across to the government in regards to the mining act is very difficult at harvest time.
“It’s very difficult to focus on something that’s very important to the farming and agriculture industry in SA so it’d be fantastic if we could get the review shifted through to February-March next year.”
Opposition agriculture spokesperson David Ridgway said he wrote to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis to call for an extension of the submission period to March next year.
Mr Koutsantonis said landowners could “seek an extension” of time to make a submission and the government would schedule face-to-face meetings with agricultural industry groups.
He said public consultation on mining review discussion papers would run for five weeks after the release of the papers in early November.
Mr Ridgway was dissatisfied, saying farmers should not have to take time away from their businesses to apply for an extension to make a submission.
“The timing of submissions will force farmers to choose between turning their backs on their businesses or providing feedback to the most significant legislative review affecting the future of primary production land,” he said.
“This review will have a significant impact on primary production land going forward – surely the Weatherill government would want comprehensive feedback from the agricultural sector.
“Given the government extended the public consultation process last year into SA’s Multiple Land Use Framework review there is reason to believe commonsense will prevail again.”
The concerns of Mr Ridgway were echoed by Mr Mattschoss who feared the timing would reduce the number of submissions received from farmers.
“The Mining Act 1971 is something that needs to be focused on by governing bodies like Grain Producers SA and primary industries groups and they need time to put submissions in and most of their submissions will be put together with information from growers to give them an idea of what they think,” he said.
“It takes a while for that information to get through and because we’ll be in the middle of harvest, it’ll be hard to focus on the two things at once.”
Mr Mattschoss said he wanted to see a stipulation in the mining act protecting agricultural land maintained and strengthened.