Media release

Working to strengthen agricultural innovation

27 March 2019

  • Full report detailing Ernst and Young findings and analysis released
  • Sets a strategic vision for rural innovation to help agriculture become a $100 billion sector
  • Roundtable held to discuss next steps in realising this vision by strengthening agricultural innovation

The Coalition Government has begun work to implement the Ernst & Young (EY) report and help agriculture become a $100 billion sector by 2030.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said a roundtable was held last week to engage with government and industry on the report findings and discuss next steps.

"EY examined whether our existing agricultural innovation system was fit for the future and would continue boosting productivity," Minister Littleproud said.

"The report has been released in full and outlines our strengths and shortcomings, and a vision for the future so we can hit that $100 billion target.

"I commissioned the report and now is the time for action and that's why we held this roundtable, to get key R&D and innovation leaders to the table and get things moving.

"Participants at the roundtable will take action on the key recommendations from the report.

"This will include concentrating on ground work in the regions to have more farmers adopt AgTech and FoodTech innovations.

"This could help more farmers use all available agricultural data when they make decisions.

"There is agreement we need to improve our innovation system and increase returns on our R&D investment.

"If we keep doing the same thing while our competitors improve then we're going backwards.

"If we want Australia's agricultural sector to continue to grow, we need to keep innovating and encourage farmers to adopt all available technology and innovation."

The full report is available at: agriculture.gov.au/cultivateaginnovation 

Fast Facts:

  • Other actions that roundtable participants have prioritised include:
    • establishing shared and ambitious priorities and a strategy to optimise opportunities from investment
    • exploring avenues to encourage new collaborations, non-traditional participants and greater private sector involvement
  • EY were commissioned in September 2018 to examine whether our existing innovation system is fit for the future. 
  • Their report ranks Australia's rural innovation system as #20 in the world, despite the fact Australia has more researchers than both the US and the Netherlands which both ranked in the top six.
  • Some 80 per cent of the more than 550 stakeholders surveyed favoured reforms to our current system.