Home' Smart Farmer : May 2011 Contents May 2011
Michael O'Brien has met
with proponents of a
UNESCO World Heritage Status list-
ing for prime agricultural land
between Clare and the Willunga
Basin to discuss how it would fit
with State Government legislation
being prepared to protect the
Barossa and McLaren Vale wine
But while the plan for a working
agrarian landscape is finding almost
unanimous favour among viticul-
ture/horticulture and tourism sec-
tors, broadacre farmers and
agribusiness consultants believe
there are many hurdles to clear
before all stakeholders can reach
agreement on a workable model.
Mr O'Brien met with representa-
tives of Barossa Grape & Wine
Association, McLaren Vale Grape,
Wine and Tourism Association and
councils supporting the proposal --
Onkaparinga, Mount Barker,
Barossa and Adelaide Hills -- to
begin the dialogue necessary to
progress the WHS plan and parallel
legislation set in motion by Premier
Mike Rann's promise to protect the
icon wine regions "not just for now
but for all time".
He discussed how PIRSA could be
part of the process in regard to plan-
ning and regulatory issues in the
After attending the Services, afford-
able housing, viable agriculture, rural
environments: can we have it all con-
ference at Tanunda in late March,
Deputy Premier John Rau signalled
that his government would "act
quickly" to limit urban sprawl and
protect prime agricultural land.
He also agreed to develop urban
growth boundaries for Adelaide, but
insisted the 30-year Plan for Greater
Adelaide would remain the corner-
stone of the city's growth.
The Environment Institute,
University of Adelaide, has been
provided with funds -- from initial
council contributions to the feasibil-
ity study -- to engage agricultural
and natural resource economist
Julian Morison, from EconSearch, to
gather baseline data and create sce-
narios about how the regions might
expect to benefit from gaining WHS.
Urban planner Stephanie
Johnston, who has long campaigned
for agricultural heritage protection,
says his appointment is an impor-
tant first step in the process to begin
a cost-benefit analysis and start the
dialogue with stakeholders and the
Executive director of the institute
Mike Young and the university's pro-
fessor of Agriculture and Food
Policy Randy Stringer, first proposed
WHS for an area roughly following
the Heysen trail at a meeting in June
last year with mayors and chief exec-
utives of the councils invited to par-
They say independent analysis of
15 listed sites in Australia has con-
tributed overwhelmingly to substan-
tial higher economic growth from
tourism, investment, new business
opportunities and 'branding and
reputation' premiums for local prod-
Western Barossa cropper and lamb
producer Peter Grocke, however,
believes the bigger questions for
broadacre farmers operating within
a WHS model would concern possi-
ble favouritism for viticulture/wine
production, boutique horticulture
operations and tourism.
He doubted whether the issues of
compensation, outmoded bufferage
WHS bid sparks debate
Agricultural and natural resource
economist to gather 'baseline data'
Workshops planned to be held in
conjunction with feasibility study
Broadacre farmers wary of more
AS State Govt examines its role in a WHS bid covering two of the State's icon wine
regions, broadacre farmers are demanding equal representation in the process.
PETER BRADY reports.
BAROSSA Grape & Wine Association chief executive officer Sam Holmes (pic-
tured) has no reservation in supporting the WHS proposal.
"Regional councils will be given a greater role in determining their region's
planning and future, taking away the power of State Government to override
local decisions," he said.
"And, for tourism, it will be astronomical."
Sam says community consultation will be inclusive.
"Broadacre farmers would not be 'poor cousins' (in the process). This is
about preserving agricultural landscapes and all sectors have the potential to
benefit from the recognition the region will attract," he said.
"Issues such as spay drift or smoke taint (affecting winegrapes) will be part
of the management process.
"But it's important to realise this is not saying you can't do things -- put up
new sheds or establish industry and commercial enterprises. However, it will
prevent governments putting an airport or housing development in place with-
out the full support of the councils and community.
"The most important thing now is to work with State Government and the
councils to identify the boundaries between towns, significant agricultural areas
and commercial developments."
Sam said WHS listing would give regional products and services a distinct
global advantage in a region identified for producing quality products.
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