The Cooperative Research Centres Association submits that:
- Research, development and engagement (RD&E) are absolutely vital to the competitiveness of Australia’s agricultural industries and should be priorities accordingly;
- There is a worrying downwards trend in Australian agricultural RD&E;
- Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) have made and continue to make an important contribution to Australian agriculture RD&E;
- The agricultural industries should continue to support and participate in CRCs.
Consolidation and scale of Australia’s agriculture research resources are need. Fragmentation of effort is common. The CRCA suggest the Commonwealth could take leadership in this area by establishment of a $100 million research consolidation fund.
The CRC Association believes the environmental sustainability of agriculture, in particular climate change, will add ongoing pressures to the competitiveness of agriculture and warrant more attention in the Green Paper than given in the Issues Paper.
We note that Australia’s freedom from many pests and diseases confers a major competitive advantage and the Commonwealth’s investment in quarantine and biosecurity yields significant returns for the nation. Regulatory reform is needed in Australia to ensure innovative products make it to our small market.