Article – AgNorth CRC future almost certain

21 May 2014
Laura Gartry
ABC Rural
The future of the $150 million bid for the AgNorth Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) was given more certainty at an Innovating with Asia conference in Perth.
There’s been a lot of concern in the rural research community since last week’s Federal Budget which axed 2014 funding for new CRCs and cut $80 million from the program over the next four years.
At the Innovating with Asia conference more than 30 CRC executives discussed the future of CRC proposals currently in the pipeline and in particular the direction of northern Australian research.
CEO of the Ag North CRC Michael Guerin told conference delegates he’s confident the funding bid for this CRC will get the green light, stating the bid had received “warm encouragement” and support to continue putting the bid together from multiple sources “particularly from Canberra in the Minister’s Office”.
Despite initially thinking “the rug had been pulled out from underneath us”, Mr Guerin believes as the venture is aligned with Government’s draft WhitePaper for Northern Australian Development and their vision for the top end, the bid for a 10 year program of research across the north of Australia will be supported.
As a result, the bid will continue to meet the timelines required for the 3rd of July submission.
There was audible relief and smiles as Mr Guerin assured conference delegates of AgNorth CRC’s future, especially from partner research institutes who had already invested substantial time and resources into the venture.
Andrew Campbell, the Director of the Research School for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University echoed the importance of the AgNorth CRC during his conference address.
“For Northern Australia to develop there needs to be a substantial future investment in a stable policy platform and a sustained co-ordinated approach to research.”
Mr Campbell stated he frustrated is with the ‘policy amnesia’ on Northern Australian development that takes place when a new Government is elected.
“When we are dealing with natural resource management issues, the processes we are trying to tackle whether it is salinity, pests or weeds like here in WA, happen over decades.
“We haven’t worked out long term approaches to tackling them that survive our three year electoral timeframes.
That is very depressing and frustrating to be honest.” Mr Campbell believes the AgNorth CRC will provide this continuity into the future.
Courtesy of ABC Rural