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South Australia

Riverland hailstorm sparks calls for government-backed nets scheme

A destructive hailstorm, which hit South Australia's Riverland region on Monday night, 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.

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. 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."

An article on recalls how the same region was hit by a similar storm in 2016, when an estimated $100 million damage was recorded.

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