Party policies and Narungga candidate statements on the mining/agriculture debate
Below is our summary of key statements by non-Government political parties and Narungga candidates on the crucial issue of mining and agriculture. We hope this information will assist you when casting your vote on election day.
Australian Conservatives state they will:
- ..legislate to ensure there are no-go zones in this state to protect sensitive farming areas from mining intrusion so that we have the guarantee of food security for the future. This includes no fracking in the South East
- Amend the mining act to zone out all arable farming and grazing areas of South Australia from invasive mining practices next term when the new mining act comes to parliament
- Create the position of Mining Ombudsman … to resolve complaints and act in an advisory role regarding issues related to the conduct of resource operations ….. to combat issues where mining companies disregard the concerns of farmers or other affected parties in relation to accessing land, lease and licence agreements.
- …fight for 35% of state mining royalties to be annexed and used specifically for programs and infrastructure in rural and regional areas under a Royalties for Regions program. https://www.conservatives.org.au/regional_rebuild_plan
Personal statement by Rebecca Hewitt, candidate for Narungga
As a fellow Yorke Peninsula farmer, I am totally against any invasive mining on prime agricultural farm land. My husband and I are not against mining as we believe that when done in a suitable location, this industry is of great benefit to our state’s economy. We are happy for them to have 94% of the state to do their mining, but not on prime farming land.
Mining is a really big income earner for this state. Australian Conservatives Royalties for Regions policy will see 35% of mining income returned to the regions. This will bring $88 million a year into rural South Australia.
I will fight to protect the rights of farmers to farm their land, through the Australian Conservatives Right to Farm legislation. I will be insisting that the state government appoint an ombudsman to represent farmers and protect their rights.
We will move for an amendment to the Mining Act, to make arable farmland and grazing land a no-go zone for invasive open-cut mining. This will give legal protection to farmers.
Extracts from Party documents
SA-Best states it will:
- ensure that farmers ..have greater rights ..to protect the State’s $21 billion in annual agriculture revenue
- strengthen legislative protections for agricultural land in line with calls made by Primary Producers SA and Grain Producers SA.
- [give] adjoining properties … the right to object to mining proposals on the basis of the potential impact on their property and viability of their agricultural enterprise.
- call for the Mining Bill to be …review[ed] before it proceeds, to ensure there are mechanisms in place that will further strengthen protections for the agricultural industry.
- Advocat[e] to establish a Mining Ombudsman and a financial fund that farmers can access, to deal with legal matters associated with encroachment by mines.
- Advocat[e] for a fast track statutory compensation fund for any farmer adversely affected by an approved mining operation, including adjoining landowners, as well as the power to revoke a mining licence if a material condition has been breached.
- [Establish] a Royalties for Regions scheme, quarantining at least 25% of royalty revenue for country communities (see https://sabest.org.au/media/media/sa-best-to-protect-our-valuable-farm-land/)
Personal Statement by Sam Davies, Candidate for Narungga
I believe government can play a role in preventing land-use conflicts with adequate legislation. I believe we can successfully mine in many areas further north in our arid environment, but we can’t farm there. It’s imperative that we protect our precious high value agricultural land, food bowl for us and to the world and that we also avoid environmental risks to our fishing, and tourism industries from open cut mineral mining. I’m concerned that our major parties may open the door for more potential disputes regarding land use conflicts by weakening the terminology that protects farmers, and we need to ensure this doesn’t happen. It’s not good enough to just say we’ll make some money available for advice to combat legal matters, when with adequate legislation we could avoid the argument altogether, and prevent social and emotional hardships that can be born from weak, contestable and ambiguous legislation. I’d much rather see our farmers growing crops and tending to their livestock, fixing fences and going about their general farming business than wasting time and money in court rooms defending their rights that a government could protect by doing its job with adequate legislation.
Extracts from Party documents
The Greens state they will:
- Prioritise farming over mining on prime agricultural land;
- Ensure that new mining projects benefit and strengthen host communities, including maximising employment through local processing of minerals and ensuring local procurement of goods and services;
- Reform land access and dispute resolution mechanisms between farmers and miners so that long term considerations are paramount and the wider community also has a say;
- Reform processes for negotiations between Indigenous communities and resource companies to ensure they are fair, open and provide real benefits to local communities;
- Empower the EPA to regulate the environmental impacts of mining to reduce the problem of conflict of interest where Mining Departments are both the promoter and regulator of mining;
- Ensure that adequate royalties are paid by mining companies to support current and future generations of South Australians. https://greens.org.au/sa/policies/mining
Personal statement of Jason Swales, candidate for Narungga
While South Australia may be large, only a small proportion is suitable for crop production. Here on Yorke Peninsula we have some of the best productive land in Australia. We are responsible for 13% of SA’s arable land, with rich limestone soil, but we produce 25% of the state’s crops, punching well above our weight. It makes no sense to sacrifice long term food sources for short term mining projects that leaves the surrounding land damaged and useless into the future, and displacing generations of farmers.
The Greens prioritise prime agricultural land over mining, and will legislate to offer better protections to landholders. We will reform land access and dispute resolution so that long term considerations are paramount and the wider community has a say. Mineral resources belong to the people and we will ensure that mining activities are kept away from valuable agricultural land and that where mining is allowed, it must maximise benefits to local communities.
Extracts from Party documents
The Liberal Party states it will:
- provide funding to the Small Business Commissioner …. to undertake work on behalf of primary producers seeking advice/resolution for land access issues involving resource companies. When the dispute is between a small farming business and a larger resource company, …the Small Business Commissioner [will] advocate on behalf of the farming business. If both parties are small businesses, the Commissioner will work to help both parties come to an agreement. (https://strongplan.com.au/policy/farmers-and-resource-companies/)
- …establish a Regional Roads and Infrastructure Fund to provide a dedicated funding stream for our regions for the next 10 years….. Each year, 30% of the State Government’s revenue from mineral and petroleum royalties will be paid into the fund [for] ongoing maintenance and minor projects for regional roads and other infrastructure (https://strongplan.com.au/policy/royalties-for-regions/)
** YPLOG could not locate an official policy statement on the issue of mining versus agriculture. The following statement by Mr Ridgeway appeared in the Stock Journal, 22 Feb 2018: (www.stockjournal.com.au/story/5243508/royalty-debate-rages-on/)
“ the Liberals do not support a blanket ban on mining in arable areas of the state but will work closely with Grain Producers SA to ensure the review of the mining act restores the balance of power between farmers and miners.”
Personal statement by Fraser Ellis, Liberal Party Candidate for Narungga
I believe strongly in property rights. Landowners should be able to operate their business unencumbered from the fear of having their land compulsory acquired for an alternative land use. Agriculture and mining are key sectors for SA and we need to ensure there is fairness when disputes arise between mining companies and farm owners.
The Liberal Party will arm the Small Business Commissioner with increased funding and a new Industry Code to provide affordable advice and support independent of government and to advocate on behalf of farming families in disputes with mining companies. The Small Business Commissioner is an existing independent body with the power to monitor, investigate and enforce non-compliance with any Industry Code prescribed by the Minister for Small Business. The Commissioner will represent smaller farming businesses in disputes against larger resources companies to even the playing field.”
“The Liberal Party stopped the passage of the Mining Bill through the Upper House, and have committed to reviewing it if elected into government.”
Royalties for regions: the Royalty for Regions policy [ie allocating 30% of royalties to a Regional Roads and Infrastructure fund] isn’t an implicit approval for any mine. The royalties come from around the state for use in all regions. My understanding is that the $750 million is a projection based on currently operating mines outputs.