Federal plan to make agricultural innovation ‘modern’

By Melissa Coade

Tuesday October 12, 2021

David Littleproud-Barnaby Joyce
David Littleproud says the modernisation plan complements the $147 million in government funding since July to bolster agricultural innovation. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

David Littleproud has released a statement outlining the federal government’s funding priorities for the next decade to help modernise Australia’s agricultural innovation system, just over a month after publishing the national agricultural innovation agenda

On Monday, the Nationals deputy leader and minister for agriculture said that the document complemented $147 million in government funding designed to bolster agricultural innovation since last July. This included a future drought fund, he added.

“We worked with stakeholders to develop this statement, and we will work with stakeholders to deliver these priorities,” Littleproud said, noting a strategic focus on exports, climate resilience, digital agriculture and biosecurity.

“To support delivery of the four new national agricultural innovation priorities, the government is providing an initial investment of $2.8 million through Agriculture Innovation Australia.”

The statement outlines the government’s intention to foster the right conditions and ‘help the agricultural sector to modernise, improve, innovate and grow’, the minister added.

Innovation and research initiatives have been identified as key drivers to this end, and Littleproud said the government would help the agricultural sector achieve a delivering Ag2030 target of $100 billion in this area within the next decade. 

The minister also underscored another funding program, which saw the government match eligible expenditure in the 2020-21 year by the Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs), totalling almost $350 million from levied commodities. He said that the RDCs have already established the Agricultural Innovation Australia group to address ‘cross-sectoral priority issues affecting the sector that may attract private investment. 

“I am working closely with industry organisations and the 15 RDCs to increase RDC accountability around stakeholder transparency, removing duplication and driving commercialisation. 

“This is to ensure value is provided to the levy payer and the taxpayer,” Littleproud said. 

Other existing measures to support innovation in the sector include a digital commercialisation platform developed by the government, AgriFutures, the RDCs and GrowAg; and $86 million for eight new innovation hubs located across the country. 

Littleproud said the platforms offered better access to commercialisation of R&D to the rest of the world and that the sector response has been promising.

“Since April 2021 the [digital] platform has already hosted over 2,000 research projects and over 40 commercialisation opportunities,” he said. 

“We will provide the right conditions and help the agricultural sector to modernise, improve, innovate and grow.”


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