News

$49m funding for invasive animals and plant research

Beef Central, 22/11/2011

Research into the control of animal and plant threats to agriculture has received a $49.4m boost following the inclusion of Cooperate Research Centres in the latest round of Government funding.

The Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IACRC) and Plant Biosecurity CRC (PBCRC) have been named among six successful applicants that will share in $148 million of Government funding.

The IACRC will receive $19.7 million in funding and the PBCRC will receive $29.7 million.

IACRC chief executive Andreas Glanznig said rabbit and wild dogs cost farmers $250 million a year in lost production and control costs.

The scale of the problem had also seen the IACRC receive increased investment from Australian Wool Innovation, Meat and Livestock Australia and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. The CRC had also gained the support of every affected national and state farmer group in the country, Mr Glanzig said.

Dr Simon McKirdy of the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC) said growth in global trade, travel and tourism meannt Australia’s plant industries face ever-increasing biosecurity threats from devastating exotic plant pests.

“This additional funding will allow us to develop and deploy the knowledge and tools to help safeguard Australia’s $14 billion plant industries exports,” Dr McKirdy said.

“It will also assist us to investigate ways to protect food security and the sustainability of our regional communities.”

According to a statement from agriculture minister Joe Ludwig, the $19.7m allocated to the IACRC will be used to transform pest animal control and reduce their impacts by developing:

  • New detection and forecasting knowledge and technologies to underpin national and regional incursion response systems and strategies that aim to minimise invasion by new and existing pest animals;
  • New biocontrol agents, platform technologies and disease models for long term strategic control of rabbits and carp, combined with new national rabbit and wild dog co-management approaches, to enable recovery of landscapes and inland waters;
  • New institutional and social knowledge to enable long term community-based pest animal management; new humane control technologies (particularly for rodents), and fertility control options for macropods and wild horses; and
  • Enhanced capability and capacity of the industry and end-users through new, highly-trained and informed researchers, program leaders and land managers.

More information on the IACRC is available at http://www.invasiveanimals.com/.

The $29.7m allocated to the PBCRC will be used to develop and deploy knowledge and tools to provide the scientific support essential for safeguarding Australia from the economic, environmental and social consequences of damaging plant pest incursions.

Its research will include:

  • New risk assessment and early warning systems to support planning and preparation;
  • More effective, less costly ways to detect and defeat new incursions quickly;
  • Technology and advice to safeguard Australia’s plant-based exports; and
  • Better engagement with the Australian community, government and industry to raise national awareness and defences against exotic plant pests.

More information on the PBCRC can be found at http://www.crcplantbiosecurity.com.au/ 

The other four CRCs to receive funding in the latest round were the CRC for Low Carbon Living, the Automotive Australia 2020 CRC (AA2020CRC), the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities and the CRC for Polymers.

Other agriculture-related CRC applications that were not successful were the CRC for Beef Genetic Technologies, the CRC for Cotton Regions and the CRC for Regional Innovation.

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