about us

Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) is a key economic development agency in the government of South Australia, with responsibility for the prosperity of the state’s primary industries and regions.

This mission is reflected in South Australia’s Strategic Plan targets to grow the contribution made by the South Australian food industry to $20 billion by 2020 and increase regional populations outside greater Adelaide to 320,000 or more by 2020.

South Australia’s agriculture, food, wine and forestry industries are a vital part of the state’s economy, our largest export sector and a major employer. In 2016–17, they generated about $22.5 billion in revenue and accounted for 57% of the state’s merchandise exports.

The rapidly increasing global demand for high quality food and wine, combined with South Australia’s strong reputation for food safety, biosecurity and product integrity, creates significant opportunities for the state.

Our regions also make a substantial contribution to the state’s economy, not only through agribusiness but also through mining and minerals processing, manufacturing, tourism and energy production. Although our regions make up only 29% of the state's population, in 2013–14 regional industries generated revenue of about $25.5 billion and produced about half of the state’s merchandise exports.

PIRSA’s priorities are to:

  • help primary industries and regions grow and innovate and take full advantage of opportunities, so they can remain competitive, productive and sustainable
  • encourage investment in and address impediments to the growth of primary industries and regional economies
  • facilitate access to new and existing markets for South Australian agriculture, food and wine and forestry products
  • support and promote the state’s worldwide reputation as a producer of food and wine
  • administer a range of policies, legislation and regulatory frameworks that are ensuring the long-term health of our aquatic resources and the economic viability of our fisheries and aquaculture industries
  • maintain the state’s strong and effective biosecurity system and high food safety standards
  • lead the state’s emergency management response to animal and plant pests and diseases, and assists other state government agencies and industry bodies in managing the impacts of bushfires, floods and earthquakes on primary producers and livestock
  • provide world-leading research and development services through the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)
  • deliver major programs and projects across South Australia, and provide consultancy services to private and public sector organisations locally, nationally and internationally, through Rural Solutions SA.

Agriculture, Food and Wine

PIRSA’S Agriculture, Food and Wine division enables the growth of South Australia’s agriculture, food and wine industries.

The division’s priorities are to:

  • promote opportunities for investment in the state’s agriculture, food and wine sectors through the Agriculture, Food and Wine Investment Strategy
  • deliver the AgriPACE Program, including the AgInsight SA portal that now provides potential investors with access to data to better inform investment decision-making
  • deliver the Food and Wine Co-Innovation Cluster Program, which provides the incentive for clusters to work together to uptake innovative business practices and processes in regional South Australia
  • manage the Food Innovation Hub, which will provide agriculture and food companies with assistance in commercialising new and existing innovative processes and products
  • deliver the Competitive Foods Initiative, which aims to assist food processing companies to improve efficiency and productivity through access to support and advice to improve manufacturing practices.

Biosecurity SA

PIRSA’S Biosecurity SA division manages the risks to South Australia posed by animal and plant pests and diseases, food borne illnesses, and misuse of rural chemicals.

Services provided by Biosecurity SA include animal health (disease surveillance and control), plant health (keeping fruit fly and other plant pests out of the state), weed and pest animal control (natural resource management biosecurity), aquatic pest management, primary industry, food safety, rural chemical operations and emergency management.

South Australia is the only Australian mainland state that is free of fruit fly, and one of the few places in the world free of the vine-destroying pest phylloxera.

Biosecurity is about managing pests and disease risks from

  • entering
  • emerging
  • establishing
  • spreading

and affecting primary produce market access, the environment and community facilities.

Biosecurity SA will soon be managing the construction of a $3.7 million sterile insect technology facility at Port Augusta which will help combat the threat of fruit fly and further enhance South Australia’s long-standing reputation as the nation’s foremost producer of quality fruit and vegetables.

Fisheries and Aquaculture

PIRSA’S fisheries and aquaculture division manages the use of South Australia’s aquatic resources to maximise the environmental, social and economic benefits to South Australian communities and ensure the sustainable development of our fisheries and aquaculture industries.

South Australia's clean marine and fresh waters are home to some of the most sought after, qualityseafood in the world. The fisheries that operate within these waters support aquaculture production and commercial, recreational and Aboriginal traditional fishing activities that contribute to the social and economic well-being of the State and prosperity of our coastal and river regions.

As custodian of these precious, community-owned resources, PIRSA’s role is to manage, protect, use and develop the State’s aquatic resources in line with the principles of ecologically sustainable development. The Fisheries Management Act 2007 and Aquaculture Act 2001 provide the frameworks to deliver these outcomes.

PIRSA’s Fisheries and Aquaculture division, which is widely viewed as a national leader in fisheries and aquaculture management, develops and implements appropriate rules and regulations to control fishing and aquaculture activities in the State. The division manages licensing and registration requirements,  permits and exemptions, fishing closures, aquatic reserves, develops environmental and aquatic animal health programs, conducts education and compliance activities with the 236,000 people estimated to participate in recreational fishing activities in South Australia every year, and coordinates the 24-hour Fishwatch service and Fishcare Volunteer program.


PIRSA’S Forestry division works with businesses and the community to promote the future of the forestry and wood products industry in South Australia and seeks new opportunities for development.

The division’s priorities are to:

  • increase the economic value of the forest and wood products industry
  • strengthen the industry’s contribution to the community
  • enhance the industry’s contribution to the environment.

Regions SA

Regions SA provides an integrated cross-sector, cross-government and regionally focused approach to improving economic and social outcomes for regions.

Regions SA also works to strengthen partnerships between regional communities, businesses and all tiers of government, which are necessary for the state to advance and prosper.

The division’s five regional coordinators work across industry sectors in each region, and with regional councils and development bodies, to identify priorities and opportunities for economic development, jobs growth and capacity building.

The Government of South Australia is allocating a total of $39 million in regional funds in 2014-15, including $10 million for the once-off Jobs Accelerator Fund, a $13.4 million per annum increase to the Regional Development Fund (which now totals $15 million per annum), and $15.5 million per annum drawn from existing resources across government.

In the South Australian River Murray region, the $265 million Australian Government funded South Australian River Murray Sustainability (SARMS) Program, which is being delivered by PIRSA through Rural Solutions SA, is providing $25 million over the life of the program for a suite of SARMS Regional Economic Development (SARMS-RED) Programs including the establishment of a Loxton business and innovation centre ($7.5 million), a research fund ($5 million), and a regional development and innovation grants program ($12.5 million).

South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)

SARDI provides research and development services to the state government, commercial clients and research partners to help make South Australia’s primary industries and regions internationally competitive and ecologically sustainable.

SARDI’s programs are designed to increase the productivity, sustainability and adaptability of the state’s agriculture, food and wine, fisheries and aquaculture and bioscience enterprises, create opportunities for market growth, address barriers to growth and provide applied solutions.

SARDI’s multi-disciplinary research and development capability is organised into the following areas:

  • Sustainable Systems: new variety agronomy; crop improvement; climate applications; entomology; plant health and biosecurity; water resources, viticulture and irrigated crops; and soil biology and diagnostics.
  • Aquatic Sciences: fisheries; aquaculture; marine ecosystems; and inland waters and catchment ecology.
  • Livestock and Farming Systems: animal reproduction; farming systems; food safety and innovation; and pigs and poultry.

Central to SARDI's success is an energetic, capable, willing and progressive team of scientists with distinctive knowledge. They are a unique blend of brilliant, creative and experienced minds, excelling in their fields and supported by impressive facilities and a network of regional research sites.

Rural Solutions SA

Rural Solutions SA is PIRSA’S key delivery agent for major programs and projects across South Australia, and provides consultancy services to private and public sector organisations locally, nationally and internationally.

In the South Australian River Murray region, the $265 million Australian Government funded South Australian River Murray Sustainability (SARMS) Program is being delivered by PIRSA through Rural Solutions SA. SARMS will support the sustainability of South Australian River Murray communities through investment in irrigation efficiencies, water returns, irrigation industry assistance and regional economic development. Over the life of the program, SARMS will provide:

  • $240 million for the SARMS Irrigation Industry Improvement Program (SARMS–3IP), which will deliver a range of irrigation industry improvements, resulting in increased agricultural production and returning a target of 40 gigalitres of water to the River Murray as environmental flows
  • $25 million for a suite of SARMS Regional Economic Development (SARMS-RED) Programs including the establishment of a Loxton business and innovation centre ($7.5 million), a research fund ($5 million), and a regional development and innovation grants program ($12.5 million).

Rural Solutions is also leading the New Horizons Program, exploring new techniques that are expected to help farmers improve the fertility and productivity of the soils where they grow their crops, potentially increasing the value of food production in South Australia by up to $800 million a year.

Seed Services Australia, the leading seed inspection, certification and testing program for the Australian seed industry, is delivered as part of Rural Solutions SA.  This program ensures that the South Australian lucerne and pasture seed industry is export ready, meeting market requirements worldwide.

Rural Solutions SA’s reputation as a provider of consultancy services has been built and maintained through innovation, outstanding client focus, strong people capabilities and the agility and flexibility to meet the needs and objectives of stakeholders and customers. The division employs highly qualified and proven performers who are experts in their fields and committed to delivering quality solutions, demonstrated by their awards from many organisations including the Planning Institute of Australia, the Civic Trust and Emergency Management Australia.

Page Last Reviewed: 20 Jul 2017
Top of page