Cropping red tape out of the agriculture picture
12 November 2015
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, used today's CropLife members' forum to listen to the views of the plant science sector and highlight the Australian Government's commitment to the continued growth of our cropping industries.
Minister Ruston said the Australian Government was committed to a strong research agenda and a robust and efficient agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemical system.
"Crops are a significant earner for the Australian economy—the gross value of production for grains, oilseeds and pulses alone are projected to reach $14.7 billion in 2015–16, and we expect to export around $11.9 billion of these crops in 2015–16," Minister Ruston said.
"We are continually working to put in place policies and conditions for these industries to succeed.
"With continued climate variability and the threat of pests and diseases impacting on productivity, this government is investing heavily in rural research and development to address these challenges.
"The $200 million Rural R&D for Profit Programme is funding innovative research projects aimed at delivering real, tangible benefits to producers.
"We also invest about $700 million each year for rural R&D activities, including about $250 million to research and development corporations (RDCs) to match producer R&D levies.
"This government understands the challenges farmers face in accessing chemicals to combat pests and diseases that threaten their profits—and Australian farmers spent more than $1.4 billion in 2013–14 on agvet chemicals.
"It's often difficult for producers to access the same chemicals available to their overseas competitors, and our comparatively small market can make the costs of registering some agvet chemicals prohibitive.
"That's why we continue to work on ways to reduce regulatory burden to facilitate better access for our producers. Since taking office we have removed the duplicative reregistration scheme and improved the efficiency of registration processes.
"Through the Ag White Paper, we're also investing $20.4 million to streamline the approval of agvet chemicals, and another $50 million to manage established pest animals and weeds—which are estimated to cost farmers more than $4.7 billion a year in management and lost production.
"This government will continue to work to create an environment where innovation and research are appropriately funded and encouraged.
"We will also strive to strike the appropriate balance between sensible red tape reduction, and robust safeguards to protect the health of humans, plants and the environment."