Media Release

New legislation ensures less red tape and more innovation

13 December 2013

The Federal Government’s commitment to a forward-thinking and flexible research and development program has been reaffirmed with the passage through parliament of the package of three Rural Research and Development Legislation Amendment Bills.

Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said the new amendments aimed to assist Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) deliver improved services to levy payers and to reduce the red tape burden on industry.

The bills ensure greater consistency of governance across the 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations (five statutory and ten industry-owned) and provide mechanisms for all RDCs to access government matching funding for voluntary contributions made by businesses to an RDC.

They also allow statutory RDCs to undertake marketing activities, if requested by industry.

The amendments were triggered by a Productivity Commission report in 2011.

Mr Joyce said the legislation aimed to make better use of the existing resources to encourage innovation across rural industry.

He said the legislation passage was an example of the government’s commitment to ensuring research and development remained firmly on the frontline of the government policy agenda.

“There is no question that research and development is vital to raising productivity and profitability,” Minister Joyce said.

“The decades of results from our RDCs prove the enormous benefit they provide to farmers across the nation.

“In a time when everyone is looking to tighten the purse-strings, these changes will improve the efficiency and transparency of RDCs and reduce the red tape burden on rural industries by removing outdated provisions.

“The package of three Rural Research and Development Legislation Amendment Bills ensures RDCs are better able to respond to emerging issues and trends.

“I am looking forward to seeing the innovations and inspired projects this legislation will help bring to fruition to improve the profitability and sustainability of our agriculture industries and communities.”