Freak SA storm sparks call for nets scheme

Freak SA storm sparks call for crop netting scheme

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PUSH: South Australia MP Rebekha Sharkie supports a dollar-for-dollar scheme for netting orchards.

PUSH: South Australia MP Rebekha Sharkie supports a dollar-for-dollar scheme for netting orchards.

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A destructive hailstorm has sparked calls for a SA government netting scheme.

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A DESTRUCTIVE hailstorm in South Australia's Riverland region has sparked calls for a government-backed netting scheme to protect vulnerable crops.

Crops believed to be worth millions of dollars were destroyed in the storm, which hit the area on Monday night.

Properties worst hit were in Barmera, Monash and surrounds, where farmers grow crops including stone fruit, nuts and grains.

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Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie said she supports a dollar-for-dollar scheme for netting orchards in the electorate because "science tells us severe storms are going to become the norm".

"After multiple seasons of devastation, many growers in my community do not possess the funds necessary to make the capital investment in netting as future insurance to protect their crops," she said.

"While netting is not an option for all crops, this infrastructure can be extremely useful in some fruit industries."

Ms Sharkie said netting costs about $60,000 per hectare and a scheme capped at around $300,000 per producer would be a hand up rather than a hand out.

"It would provide long-term certainty and sustainability for our grower community, especially as the impacts of climate change worsen," she said.

"I think most people want their kids and their grandkids to be able to eat Australian fruit into the future.

"We need to make sure that we can support our growers."

The same region was hit by a similar storm in 2016, when an estimated $100 million damage was recorded.

Australian Associated Press

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