Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:27): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister update the house on how the state government is addressing the impacts of rabbits on agricultural land?
The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:28): Yes, I certainly can. I thank the member for Waite. I know that he has rabbit incursions in his electorate in the foothills of South Australia. What I can say is that recently in Mount Barker, I was very happy to announce a new Rabbit Control Coordinator in South Australia. His name is Josh Rosser.
The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: No, it's not Peter the Rabbit: it's Josh. The position has been funded in a partnership thanks to $260,000 from the federal Liberal government through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. We know that the then minister Joyce had developed a white paper about the invasive species across the nation, none more so than the rabbit. We know that we are now working with landowners to wipe out areas of the destructive environmental pest and the amount of damage that it is doing, not only to agriculture and horticulture but also to our environmental assets.
I am sure the Minister for Environment is deeply concerned about the damage it's doing to his parks and his assets—some $30 million of damage across the state on an annual basis. What we are going to see is that the rabbit coordinator is now going to move around the state and coordinate with landowners, farmers, agriculturalists, horticulturalists and environmentalists to coordinate an approach to this destructive pest. We are seeing now that we are using some of the different methods, such as ripping, fumigation and, of course, the calicivirus that has been in train for a number of years.
The rabbit coordinator will work with landowners to make sure that we have a very much coordinated approach. He is travelling the state, and there have been significant reports on newly planted horticulture—grape vines, trees and nurseries. That puts the cycle of those trees and vines back four to five years in some cases. We know that some of the rootstocks, once they are chewed, never recover and can never be used out in open field. We know that the destruction on fence lines, the destruction they are incurring, particularly with agricultural crops, is having a significant impact on our economy.
Again, I would say that the landowners are being called upon to make sure that they let the coordinator know when there are significant sightings or impacts of rabbits so that we can actually implement a collaboration, an approach, that will better destroy this invasive pest. I am advised that the coordinator is about to release approximately 300 vials of the RHDV1 K5 calicivirus strain. That is the latest strain that is about to be released into our natural environment to combat the invasive species.
We know that, once upon a time, myxomatosis was a viral strain that was released, and it had a significant impact on rabbits, but today the calicivirus continues to evolve. With the release of those 300 vials, we hope to see the destruction of such an invasive pest. Josh Rosser is travelling the state, and I appeal to every landowner and every environmentalist: if you have rabbit pressure, contact him through PIRSA so that we can attack the rabbit instead of the rabbit attacking us.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (14:19): Thank you so much, sir. My question is to the Minister for Education. Can the minister update the house on the transition of year 7 to high school?Read more
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:35): South Australians of all ages experience the chronic and debilitating health impacts of living with epilepsy. One in 25 people will have epilepsy at some point in their lifetime, and it is a chronic health condition for many South Australians. It can result in ongoing medical expenses and can require, and often does, constant medical attention. Many people living with epilepsy are usually able to live full and productive lives through medication, self-management and lifestyle changes. However, public confusion on epilepsy can cause challenges to people who live with this condition.Read more
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:33): I suppose politics in Australia has always been played pretty hard for many years, both at a South Australian level and across the nation. However, it concerns me that in recent years the tone, especially around election campaigns, has changed. Several instances certainly come to mind, and one is the infamous campaign in Mawson about putting your family first.Read more
Mr DULUK (Waite) (17:28): I also rise to make a contribution on the Landscape South Australia Bill. I commend the Minister for Environment and Water, his office and his department for presenting the bill before the parliament as a substantial change to the way that South Australia will go about its natural resource and landscape management into the future, which is so vitally important.Read more
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:40): I rise today to talk about ANZAC Day and honouring the memory of the men and women who gave their life for this country. Last week, on 25 April, we commemorated ANZAC Day, and it is indeed a day of commemoration and not a day of celebration.Read more
Mr DULUK (Waite) (11:30): I move:
That this house opposes Bill Shorten and Labor's plans to abolish negative gearing and increase capital gains tax by 50 per cent, which would damage Australia's housing market and destroy equity in people's homes.Read more
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:30): I rise today to talk about an issue that has plagued my constituents for many years, and that is the lack of road investment in my wonderful electorate. Under the past 16 years of Labor government, my people were ignored and our roads were not upgraded.Read more
Mr DULUK (Waite) (16:40): I also rise to say a few words on the Statutes Amendment (Liquor Licensing ) Bill 2019 and to thank the Attorney and the office of the CBS for their work in tidying up some anomalies out of the Anderson review several years ago.Read more
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:34): Today, I rise to spread the good news about the reactivation of the Repat, which was launched this morning. Sir, you would remember, as so many on this side of the house do, when the Repat closed under the Labor government back in 2017. It was a disgraceful day in the history of public health in South Australia. The Labor Party still closed the Repat even though veterans slept on the steps of parliament for 161 nights. To protest the closing of the Repat, 120,000 signatures were presented to this parliament, but the Labor government, through trashing our state health system, still closed the Repat. That was despite former premier Mike Rann saying that the Labor Party would never, ever close the Repat.Read more