A thriving agricultural sector underpins the future success of our regional communities and national economy and depends on our farmers getting strong returns at the farm gate.
Innovation is key to achieving productivity growth at the farm level. However many of the small producers and businesses in the agricultural sector lack the incentive and capacity to invest in research and development (R&D) and extension to drive innovation. RDCs provide a means of investing collectively in innovation.
Australia has a long history of investing in R&D and extension to improve productivity. The first R&D levy systems were initiated by producers in the early 1900s.
Following a review of R&D funding arrangements in 1989, the Australian Government established the RDC system. Since then, our agricultural sector has faced economic reforms, industry deregulation and the changing demands of the domestic and global markets. The profitability of these industries depends on their ability to adapt to change and remain competitive in global trade.
The RDC system must also keep pace with global changes. We aim to achieve $100 billion in annual gross value of production for the sector by 2030. To meet this target, we have to make the most of our investment in R&D and extension. Increased profitability for our producers will also benefit regional communities, as well as our national economy.
This discussion paper outlines key focus areas to support a modern RDC system that will:
- deliver value for money for levy payers and the taxpayers who fund the RDC system
- drive collaboration and participation across the agricultural innovation system, with a focus on better cooperation and improved adoption of R&D
- target long-term cross-sectoral and transformative R&D
- improve levy-payer representation and advocacy.
We invite industry, business and community to contribute suggestions for improving and modernising the RDC system.
Submissions close 4 November 2019.