Select Committee report a win for farmers: GPSA
Apr 04, 2019
Grain Producers SA has welcomed today’s release of the report into the Fire and Emergency Services (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2018 by a Parliamentary Select Committee.
GPSA CEO Caroline Rhodes said the Select Committee’s report recognised the success of industry self-regulation and proposed a range of recommendations which will help raise community awareness and prevent the spread of fire.
“We are pleased to see the Select Committee acknowledge the hard work industry has done in developing and implementing the voluntary Grain Harvesting Code of Practice, which is adhered to by the vast majority of the state’s grain growers,” she said.
The Committee’s recommendations will help strengthen the role of the Code and encourage the development of further farm fire prevention networks.
“GPSA welcomes the Select Committee’s finding that the power to direct the cessation of harvesting is more appropriately exercised by SA Police."
GPSA believes action must be taken against the limited number of producers who operate outside of community values by harvesting in dangerous conditions.
“Government and industry now need to collaborate on further awareness campaigns such as GPSA’s highly successful Know Your Code campaign.
“GPSA is committed to continual improvement of the Code as new technologies and practices develop. Together we can reduce the incidence of fire by raising awareness of the Code and the consequences of non-compliance.
Ms Rhodes said the Select Committee process has given the grains industry confidence in the policy outcome and provides a model for future regional policy development.
“The Chair of the Select Committee, Eyre Peninsula MP Peter Treloar, should be commended for taking the parliamentary process into regional SA and listening to the concerns raised,” she said.
This collaborative and open process should be used as the basis for better policy development on other issues such as mining on agricultural land.
“GPSA now calls on Parliament to adopt the Select Committee’s recommendations.
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Background – Grain Harvesting Code of Practice:
The grain industry has voluntary guidelines for on-farm crop harvesting activity, called the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice.
This code has been in place for the past decade and outlines a calculation for telling when conditions are safe to harvest grain, based on temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and the dryness of vegetation. This is called the Grassland Fire Danger Index. When the index reaches a certain measurement, farmers make the decision to stop harvesting.
The code also outlines already legislated requirements for grain harvesters to have firefighting equipment in the same paddock as the harvester at all times.
In 2016, GPSA and the CFS launched a campaign called Know Your Code, which reinforced to growers the guidelines outlined in the code. GPSA has since invested significant time and energy in 2017 and 2018 in reinforcing the requirements of the code, as evidenced at www.grainproducerssa.com.au/knowyourcode
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