Landscape Boards

Thursday May 13, 2021

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:07): My question is to the Minister for Environment. Can the minister provide an update on how the Limestone Coast Landscape Board is progressing, in particular regarding funding being provided for landscape recovery initiatives?


The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS (Black—Minister for Environment and Water) (15:08): I thank the member for Mount Gambier for that question. The Landscape South Australia reform was a very key reform that the Liberal Party took into the election, saying that we would wind back the natural resources management regime and replace it with a new act, that we would have a really back-to-basics approach to landscape boards, with people appointed from the community, with local government representation, with representation spread well geographically around particular regions. We would concentrate on the basic platforms, the basic pillars towards environmental sustainability: water conservation, water management, sustainable agriculture, pest animal and pest plant control, overlaying that with climate action and biodiversity conservation.

The landscape boards right across the state are going exceptionally well. They have been up and running for about 12 months now, and I've been really pleased with the level of leadership we have seen from the landscape board chairs as well as the grassroots connection we have seen from board members.

In particular, in the member for Mount Gambier's region, and he shares that with the member for MacKillop and the member for Hammond, we have the Limestone Coast Landscape Board. For the first 12 months or so, that was chaired by Kerry DeGaris. Kerry had to step down because of other pressures recently, and I want to take this opportunity to thank Kerry for her contribution to the administration of that board, particularly in its early days.

In the last couple of months, we have seen a farmer based in the north of the Limestone Coast, Penny Schulz, come into the chair role there. Penny is also on the Premier's Climate Change Council, so getting that real cohesion and solidarity between climate change action and policy in the state and also that grassroots ground-level community conservation action, which we are demanding and seeing from these landscape boards.

One of the key reforms to the way we do natural resource management in South Australia was essentially taking a bit of Adelaide's levy from the Green Adelaide region and redistributing it around the state through the Landscape Priorities Fund. This is a really good reform because it recognises that people who live in Adelaide, they benefit from the regions, they enjoy the regions, but they also put pressure on the regions when we gain food and fibre out of the regions and we visit the regions.

By establishing the Landscape Priorities Fund, we've been able to redistribute some of Adelaide's levy collection into regional South Australia. We are about to make an announcement as to the successful projects from the Landscape Priorities Fund. These are large landscape-scale projects, projects that can be multiyear with many partners, particularly partnering with environmental NGOs, local industry and local government. These projects will really make a difference.

I'm delighted to be able to announce today two projects will get up in the landscape board that represents the Limestone Coast. The first is one that will receive around $500,000, and that's called Making Every Drop Count, looking at water resources in the South-East so critical to the environmental and economic sustainability of the Limestone Coast region. That is going to look at innovative ways to manage water resources down there and really build resilience into those water resources.

The other project getting up in the Limestone Coast landscape region is a project to deal with feral deer. We know that feral deer are one of the emerging and most dramatic environmental pests impacting our landscape and so we are going to have this concerted effort and really turbocharge our approach to dealing with feral deer. This is a back-to-basics approach. The landscape boards are working, they are getting those basics right and they are building resilience into the landscape.