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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 184

Centres of Excellence in Agriculture

(Question No. 539)

Mr Fitzgibbon : Asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, in writing: - In respect of the Government's policy on creating centres of excellence in agriculture, (a) have formal consultations commenced with Government agencies to examine relocation options to regional towns and cities, (b) which (i) Government agencies, and (ii) regional towns and cities, have been approached, and on what dates, (c) has the Government approached any regional universities or research organisations; if so, (i) which ones, and (ii) on what dates, (d) has funding been allocated over the forward estimates to the cost of establishing these centres; if not, why not, and (e) how will the Government measure the outcomes of this policy.

Mr Joyce: - The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(a) Yes.

(b) (i) Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).

   (ii) These agencies have considered a number of possibilities as part of determining relocation options since 2014.

(c) On 12 May 2015 I wrote to the University of New England, the University of Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland about the potential relocation of the APVMA.

Other agencies have approached regional universities directly, for example:

RIRDC met with senior representatives from Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga on 12 August 2015

GRDC has held discussions with Charles Sturt University and the University of Adelaide, Roseworthy.

(d) Establishing Centres of Excellence in Agriculture will help to build partnerships between government agencies, regional universities and industry research organisations. The government has allocated $25.6 million to relocate the APVMA to Armidale to create a Centre of Excellence in Agriculture with the University of New England.

The FRDC, GRDC and RIRDC are drawing on their funding to develop partnerships with research institutions as part of normal business and their relocation plans.

(e) The government is monitoring the implementation of its policy. For example:

GRDC has received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the agency's new regional offices from growers across the grain growing regions of Australia.

FRDC has indicated that establishing a new headquarters in Adelaide is helping the agency realise its long-term goal of getting better connectivity between regions to improve research outcomes and make savings.

RIRDC has indicated it is very positive about its move to Wagga Wagga, the new opportunities for collaboration with Charles Sturt University that arise and the operating cost savings which will allow more funds to be invested directly in research and development.