The State Liberals have described the Weatherill Labor Government’s budget cuts to the National Resource Management Community Grants program as an environmental and economic disaster for regional South Australia.
“The Weatherill Government’s disastrous cuts will leave our farms and national parks vulnerable to invasive weeds and feral animal infestation,” said Shadow Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Michelle Lensink.
“These community programs are critical to controlling the potentially devastating impacts of invasive weeds and feral animals throughout regional South Australia.
“Minister for Environment Ian Hunter’s claim that he cut the programs to protect jobs in Adelaide shows his lack of understanding of the importance of protecting South Australia from the impacts of invasive weeds and feral pests.
“Rabbit, foxes, feral cats, goats and a wide range of invasive weeds are already having a devastating impact on the productivity of farms across South Australia and the cuts will result in these pests extending their grip throughout regional South Australia.”
These cuts come after the Weatherill Labor Government’s investment in primary industries fell to a 12 year low in the State Budget and will compound the problems gripping regional South Australia.
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 five years ago.
“The cuts to the NRM Community Grants program and the Agricultural, Food and Fisheries program make a mockery of the Premier’s claims he intends to reconnect with regional South Australia,” said Ms Lensink.
The Environment Departments website states:
Our natural resources are of great importance to the people of South Australia. They underpin our health, wellbeing, prosperity and way of life.
“The Weatherill Labor Government’s cuts will undermine our health, wellbeing, prosperity and way of life,” said Ms Lensink.