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September, 2016|Media Releases

Innovation critical for rural industries

2 September 2016

The bill to establish Innovation and Science Australia is a welcome step in the Commonwealth’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, Chairman of the Council of Rural RDCs Mr Richard Clark said today.

“Innovation is a central part of the government’s plan for Australia’s future, and it is a position we fully support,” Mr Clark said.

“Australia primary producers are great innovators. According to the Productivity Commission, productivity in agriculture, fisheries and forestry has averaged 2.6 percent improvement a year since 1989, far exceeding the national average of less than1 percent a year across the market sector economy.

“Rural industries have a sustained commitment to innovation, with government and industry maintaining a partnership for prioritising and investing in R&D through the Rural RDCs which delivers real impacts for both industry and the community.

“The RDCs are the largest industry-innovation program in the country, and the third largest source of publically available funds for research and development.

“Funded by industry and government, RDCs deliver benefits for producers, in the form of better varieties, technology, business practices and improved farm gate profits, and for the community through improved environmental management and successful rural industries that support vibrant regional communities.

“We deliver real benefits and real impacts through the rapid adoption of research outcomes. Australia is a world leader in water efficient crop production, meat grading systems, food safety and traceability, and the management of pests, weeds and diseases. These results are directly attributable to our investments in R&D.

“We are now investing in the future, with advances in robotics, data and genomics. These technologies will ensure our producers and rural industries are able to thrive and take advantage of all market opportunities.

“On behalf of the Council of Rural RDCs we welcome the formation of Innovation and Science Australia, and look forward to working with the Board to advance the national Innovation and Science Agenda.”


Australia’s food and fibre industries owe much of their success to research and development that focuses on Australia’s unique climatic, geographic and trading environments. Australia’s 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations form a network that enables primary producers through effective research, development and extension, and delivers substantial benefit at the traditional farm gate, and across the economy and Australian community.

To understand some of Australia’s current research and development success stories, visit

The 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations are jointly funded by industry and government to plan, prioritise, invest in and manage research, development, technology transfer and adoption to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits for rural industries, rural and regional communities and the nation as a whole. In some cases RDCs also undertake market access, market development and promotional activities at the request of and fully-funded by the industries concerned.

The RDCs annual invest approximately $580 million into research and development for rural industries, and they are the nation’s largest industry-innovation program and the third largest source of publically available funding after the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council.

The RDCs are funded through levies on production and a matching contribution from the Commonwealth, to deliver improved economic, environmental and social performance of producers and rural industries, for the benefit of those industries, rural and regional communities and the nation.

The Council of Rural RDCs provides a forum for the RDCs to work together on issues of common interest and to strengthen Australia’s unique rural RDC model.