Agricultural Legislation

Key information in this Agricultural Legislation section includes:

  • Descriptions of some important Acts and Regulations developed for agricultural industries.
  • Key leaders associated with development of legislation.
  • Lists of Acts and second reading speeches.

Legislation Overview

The legislation governing agricultural industries for which the SA Department of Agriculture (later Primary Industries & Resources SA) has had responsibility for administering (through respective Ministers) is listed alphabetically and chronologically. Many of these Acts are supported by Regulations, and in some instances, by Notices, Indentures, Codes of Practice, Policies or Directions, but these have not been included here.

There are many Acts that address agricultural and natural resource management matters.  Some are amending Acts. Not all of the legislation has been incorporated, so researchers on particular historical matters are advised to consult the statute books for Acts that may have been omitted.

Legislation has been used to manage a wide array of agriculture industry functions. Most legislation introduced during the 1800s was associated with preventing the spread of pests, diseases, weeds, and for livestock management.

From 1915 onwards, legislation associated with the quality control, processing and marketing of farm produce began to appear on the statute books. Land, water and natural resource management via irrigation and soil conservation legislation appeared in the 1930s. The quality of farming inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals and veterinary medicines have also been controlled through legislation. At various stages, legislation associated with drought, hailstorms, bush fires and financial relief have been used to provide support to the State’s farming communities.

In 1998, Primary Industries & Resources SA had the second largest portfolio of current Acts (59) within SA Government to administer. During the late 1990s and early2000s, the Federal Government introduced National Competition Policy. This drove a major overhaul of agriculture industry legislation resulting in removal of anti competitive elements, the repeal of many Acts and upgrading of all legislation.

Further Information

A complete array of current legislation is available from the Attorney General’s web site at

A number of other web sites contain historical lists of Acts, including the Australian Law Librarians Association (SA Division) at

More detailed information about South Australian legislative process and terminology can be found at ‘Understanding legislation’.