Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia. Will the minister explain to the House how the Morrison-Joyce government's substantial investment in agriculture innovation will boost productivity, jobs and prosperity in regional Australia and assist agriculture in reaching its target of being a $100 billion industry by 2030?
I thank the member for Nicholls for his question. I acknowledge the rich and very proud history that the Nicholls region has in producing some of the finest food and fibre in the world. It will play a significant part in Australian agriculture reaching $100 billion and, in fact, will play a significant part in us this year, for the first time in our nation's history, reaching $70 billion.
He knows better than anyone that innovation plays a very important part in providing our farmers with the tools to be able to provide the best food and fibre in the world. That's why we're investing in and modernising our innovation systems, making sure that we put the environment in the framework. We are currently ranked No. 23 in the world, but we have set ourselves the target of becoming No. 1 in the world. We have the same number of researchers and scientists as the United States and Netherlands, who are fourth and sixth in the world. All we have to do is put the environment around the best and brightest in the world that are here to achieve that goal.
We are doing that by firstly creating Agricultural Innovation Australia, which will get back to the first principles of utilising the $1.1 billion of R&D levy dollars that go into making sure our farmers have that research money. That comes from the taxpayer and the levypayer. We're getting back to the first principles of value to the levypayer and taxpayer, no duplication and commercialisation of what we are doing. AIA has started that journey of making sure that we're removing the duplication of research across the 15 commodity RDCs that are there at the moment, saving millions of levypayers' and taxpayers' dollars, getting real value for dollar for us and making it go further.
We're also giving AIA the tools to be able to do this properly. For the first time, we've created a digital platform, growAG. What that does is put all the research and development that our 15 research and development corporations have undertaken and are undertaking on a digital platform that the world can see and that, in fact, other commercial entities can see so that they can invest. So far, since April this year, when we launched this, there have been over 40 commercialisation opportunities that have come from that, not just from Australia but from around the world. Over 15,500 customers have looked at it, from over 130 countries.
We are also backing this with physical platforms where people can come and see and feel and touch the research that we are doing, because that's where you get the adoption. We're putting one out near Shepparton at Dookie college, where we're partnering with universities to make sure that cutting-edge research can be developed and farmers can actually see and adopt it. This is making sure that we have a closed loop in terms of the environment we're creating to ensure that the investment dollar that we are putting up and that the farmers are putting up is partnering with new commercial capital. This is having real results not just in driving innovation but in protecting the over 330,000 jobs in agriculture while also creating the new jobs of agriculture into the 2030s and beyond.