Media Release

$100 million in agricultural R&D keeps Aussie farmers at cutting edge

13 May 2014

The Abbott Government is honouring its commitment to provide $100.0 million in new funding for rural research and development specifically to support continued innovation in our agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the Rural R&D for Profit Policy Initiative will fund research activities that focus on enhancing the profitability of our agricultural industries.

"This initiative is part of the Government's Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

"We know there is a strong link between R&D and agricultural productivity growth and recognise that it is a key driver to industry and farmgate profitability," Minister Joyce said.

This research will focus on delivering cutting edge technologies, with an emphasis on making research accessible for farmers. Research must be practical and support our farmers and producers.

"The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES) estimates that for each dollar the government invests in agricultural R&D farmers generate $12 within 10 years.

"In a tight fiscal environment, the fact that the government has allocated substantial additional funding demonstrates how important research and development is to the future of rural industries," Minister Joyce said.

This initiative will be delivered through a competitive grants process. In order to qualify for the funding, project proposals will need to demonstrate collaboration between rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) and partners such as other funding agencies, experienced researchers, producer groups, and the private sector.

Early in the next financial year, we will release guidelines to advise potential applicants of the priorities for the first round of funding, and the application process.

The rural RDCs are a partnership between government and industry in funding rural R&D, with industry investing through statutory levy collection and the government matching the levy funding up to statutory caps. This initiative is in addition to the current funding mechanisms for RDCs.