A new focus on agricultural innovation investments to harness collective power of RDCs

The Hon David Littleproud MP
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management
  • Agricultural Innovation Australia Ltd (AIA) will drive a new cross-industry approach to agricultural innovation.
  • Liberal Nationals Government funding of $1.3 million to kick-start investments.
  • Improving the impact of funding and investment is a key focus of the recently announced National Agricultural Innovation Agenda.
  • The Liberal Nationals Government have delivered a new nationally focused, whole-of-sector approach to agricultural innovation that will increase impact on-farm and along the supply chain, and deliver value for the Australian community.

    As part of this historic reform, all 15 rural research and development corporations (RDCs) have come together to form a new company to drive cross-industry research, to leverage private sector investment and to target transformational innovation.

    Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the creation of Agricultural Innovation Australia (AIA) will be a game changer in driving unprecedented collaboration and coordination of investment in agricultural innovation.

    “AIA will capitalise on cross-industry opportunities to drive productivity, sustainability and profitability in agriculture by leveraging the power of collaboration,” Minister Littleproud said.

    “The RDCs have stepped up and shown leadership in response to extensive stakeholder feedback about how collaboration can be improved. But this isn’t only about the RDCs.

    “AIA will bring work with the private sector to attract investment, bringing new perspectives and players to agricultural innovation.

    “AIA is a key element of the Australian Government’s new National Agricultural Innovation Agenda to modernise Australia’s agricultural innovation system.

    “That is why the Australian Government is committing $1.3 million in seed funding for the first AIA investment strategies to fast-track action on the ground.

    “I welcome the leadership shown by RDCs to work together, leveraging their collective knowledge and resources, to target the big, national challenges facing the sector – such as building climate resilience, natural resource management and supply chain traceability.

    “Innovation is key to help meet industry’s target for a $100 billion sector by 2030 and we know the biggest productivity gains will come from long-term, transformational R&D.

    “Now more than ever, with record Government investment to support COVID-19 recovery, we need to demonstrate the greatest returns from our investments, improve transparency of outcomes and drive efficiencies and greater uptake of our R&D efforts.”

    John Woods, Chair of the Council of RDCs and Grains Research and Development Corporation, said AIA represented an exciting new era for Australia’s farming sector.

    “AIA will transform investment in Australian agriculture. Having a single entity to lead cross-industry strategies will make it easier for investors from around the world to navigate and partner with our agricultural system,” Mr Woods said.

    “Activities undertaken by AIA will focus on areas with greatest impact across multiple agricultural industries. To avoid duplication of effort, when prioritising opportunities for investment, consideration will be given to existing RDC and industry strategies.”

    Fast Facts:

    • Agricultural Innovation Australia Ltd was formed in September 2020
    • AIA will be managed by an independent, skills-based Board, and invest in strategies that address shared challenges and opportunities to deliver transformative outcomes for the agriculture sector.
    • RDCs are responsible for investing around $800 million each year in agricultural innovation. Almost $300 million of this is Australian Government funding from taxpayers, and around $500 million comes from industry levies.

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