A discussion paper launched today is calling for ideas to modernise Australia’s Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) to support the next wave of innovation for Australian farmers.
In a statement released today Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said a thriving agricultural sector will underpin the future success of Australia’s regional communities and national economy, and depends on farmers getting strong returns at the farm gate.
“Our farmers feed and clothe our nation and send safe, high-quality, sustainable products to markets around the globe,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Farming underpins profitable farming families, strong rural and regional communities and contributes to our national economy.
“That’s why our Government is committed to realising a $100 billion industry by 2030.
“Agriculture in the 21st century will be science-led, employ more cutting-edge technology and need highly skilled workers.
“If we’re to position agriculture as an agile, industry of choice for the 21st century we need to see what improvements we can make that will help us get there.
“This is an opportunity for those who have a stake in the system to be involved so we can make sure our agriculture sector is operating as effectively and efficiently as it can.
“This discussion paper is about modernising our agricultural research and development to ensure the RDC system is delivering value for our levy and tax payers into the future.”
Modernising the Research and Development Corporation system: Discussion paper is available for comment until 4 November, 2019.
Discussion paper questions:
- Is the current RDC system delivering value for levy payers and taxpayers? In what ways?
- What are some of the benefits of keeping the same number of RDCs?
- What are some of the benefits of changing the number of RDCs?
- What are some of the cross-sectoral issues being faced by the wider agricultural sector?
- How can RDCs increase collaboration to ensure better investment in, and returns from, cross-sectoral, transformative and public good research?
- What are the cultural changes necessary in RDCs to achieve a modern fit-for-purpose RDC system?
- What other ways are there for increasing investment in cross-sectoral, transformative and public good research?
- What is the best way for RDCs to engage with levy payers to inform investment decisions?
- How can we encourage increased investment in the RDC system from the private sector and international partners?
- How can we form stronger linkages between the RDC system and the food value chain?
- What changes might encourage improved RDC collaboration with the private sector, including those outside the agricultural sector?
- Where should the balance of investment between R&D and extension lie?
- How could RDCs play a stronger role in extension service delivery, in light of existing private and state government extension efforts?
- How could RDCs help researchers, entrepreneurs and others better engage with producers to accelerate uptake?
- How could industry and levy payers drive increased uptake of R&D?
- How might RDCs be able to increase their role in policy research and development and participate in policy debate alongside industry representative bodies?
- If RDCs were to play a greater role in this area how could this activity be clearly distinguished from partisan and political activity, which must remain a role for industry representative bodies?
1. Leave the individual RDCs to concentrate on their areas of expertise in their respective commodities.
2. Encourage collaboration where appropriate.
3. Create one central service department that provides financial, HR, IT and legal support in a consistent manner for all RDCs.