The State Government has had a long-term obligation on privately owned land to assist with the protection of the natural environment, including remedial work on soils and native vegetation, because it is widely believed that this has long-term benefits for future generations. Some of the most unspoilt and best examples of a natural environment in Australia are on KI, found on private land. The Weatherill Labor Government does not seem to trust that volunteers, farmers or landholders may actually know a thing or two about their own property. The Government has created differing levels of bureaucracy to plan, monitor, report and dish out the little money that’s left for environmental work on their properties.
There is little doubt that things have deteriorated under the current Labor Government from a natural resources perspective, when so little Government money actually hits the ground where it is intended. There’s no doubt some of this is tied up in the legislation, and there are people who passionately want to achieve much more, so the time is right for locals to voice their concerns and demand change. It is your taxes being spent.
It is unfortunate that in many parts of the state including KI, natural resources management has become very top-heavy. Some years ago we had Landcare, with land owners able to access advice and money from the Government, volunteers administered the money and virtually all of the money went where it was intended, to fence off creeks, correct acid soils, control weeds and plant trees.
On KI we have the most environmentally switched-on farmers and landholders in SA, who are caring for a broad range of biodiversity at no cost to the tax payer. Many thousands of hectares of native bush and creek lines are fenced off from livestock and there is much native biodiversity benefit from the water points and improved pastures that are found on private land.
The issue of natural resources management in SA is being reviewed by the State Liberals. Shadow Environment Minister David Speirs is wanting regional communities like KI to feed in information via a survey that will improve the way the regions deal with environmental issues and the way money is spent. He will be visiting the Island in June. The survey can be completed here: surveymonkey.com/r/nrmsurvey.
Andy Gilfillan, Liberal Candidate for Mawson