The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Programme is a significant part of the government’s ambitious innovation agenda. Successive reviews and studies have demonstrated the impact of the CRC Programme, including its positive impact on Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.
The government recognises that Australia must lift collaboration between industry and academia to improve our innovation performance and competitiveness. The CRC Programme is acknowledged around the world as one of the most successful means of achieving deep industrial collaboration.
The Turnbull Government has embraced the CRC Programme, expanding it to CRC-Projects (CRC-Ps) in 2016, which have proved exceptionally attractive to industry. Consultations currently underway have invited comment on priorities for the CRC Programme with a view to widening the scope for CRCs to address issues of national benefit.
The expansion of the scope and ambition for the CRC Programme has been widely welcomed by industry. However, this expansion has not been supported with additional funds for the programme, which have reduced in real terms.
The performance of the CRC Programme and the government’s increasing reliance on it as a major source of collaboration warrant a substantial boost to the programme’s budget. The CRC Association submits that the total resources to the CRC Programme should be lifted to $200 million in the 2017-2018 Budget (from the current $160 million) and maintained in real terms over the forward estimates. The total cost over the next three years is $108 million. This would partially restore the CRC Programme budget and enable the programme to continue to deliver for Australia.