Premier Rann’s promise of an extra $4 million for our critical food and wine industries has been revealed as just another example of Rann Spin, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today.
Mr Rann has been boasting about keeping his election promise of additional support of $1 million per year for four years for the food and wine industries. In addition he has appointed Deputy Premier John Rau as Food Marketing Minster.
However, in evidence to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee this week, the CEO of PIRSA, Geoff Knight, confirmed the Government had also cut nearly $1 million per year from the Department’s food sector budget:
Hon Rob Lucas: “Whilst the new initiative has put $1 million into that initiative per year, as you said, what we’re talking about is taking just under $1 million out of food-related programs from the department as well; isn’t that correct?”
Geoff Knight: “It is correct.”
Mr Knight also indicated it was not yet clear what precise role the new Food Marketing Minister will have and what responsibilities he will take from the current Agriculture Minister.
Other evidence to the Committee included:
• funding for the Premier’s Food Awards will be cut and taken over by industry contributions
• PIRSA was spending $200,000 on consultancy The Nous Group (company associated with former Deputy CEO of Mr Rann’s Department of Premier and Cabinet Tanya Smith) to help ‘chart the course for the future of PIRSA’.
• PIRSA had made a submission on the draft water allocation plan for the Western Mt Lofty region raising concern with the plan and the way the calculations have been undertaken
• a final decision on the transfer of SARDI to the University of Adelaide would be taken by the State Government and the university sometime this year – a key issue to be negotiated is how much of the State Government appropriation of $15-17 million per year would be transferred.
• Forestry SA has undertaken work which indicates a change of government policy to shorten forest rotation policy would increase shareholder value and therefore possible proceeds from any forward sale of three rotations of forests.