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Monday, 9 August 2021
Page: 121

Agriculture Industry


Mr DRUM (NichollsChief Nationals Whip) (14:43): My question is for the Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison-Joyce government's substantial investment in agriculture and innovation will boost jobs and prosperity in regional Australia and assist with the industry reaching its target of being a $100 billion industry by 2030?


Mr LITTLEPROUD (MaranoaMinister for Agriculture and Northern Australia and Deputy Leader of the National Party) (14:43): I thank the member for Nicholls for his question. He represents a very rich and proud agricultural area. It makes a significant contribution to Australian agriculture, which is a $66 billion industry. That is despite the droughts and the reduced flows down the Murray River that that region has experienced.

Because of the challenges we naturally face in Australian agriculture, we adopt technology, science and research more quickly than nearly any other industry in the country. We do this because we have to.

That's why, as part of the government's Ag2030 plan, one of the seven key pillars that we're investing in—to ensure we build resilience in but also grow Australian agriculture and support the over 330,000 jobs in agriculture today—is innovation, the new pillar of Australian agriculture, and that's through some reforms of our 15 commodity research and development corporations, whether they be cotton, grains or dairy, to make sure we get back to first principles—value to the levy payer, value to the taxpayer—by removing the duplication of research across those organisations and commercialising them, getting a rate of return on the investment of over $1.1 billion a year that the Australian taxpayer and farmers contribute to having the cutting-edge technology to give our farmers the tools they need to continue to grow agriculture.

That's also about supporting it in a digital sense, and I'm proud to say that we launched the growAG website. That's about bringing together all the research that these 15 research and development corporations are producing, and not only making sure that there is no duplication but saying to the world what opportunities are here in Australia. Already we are seeing international players wanting to partner with our research and development corporations and investing in jobs here in innovation in agriculture.

We're also creating physical platforms: eight drought innovation hubs, one of which is in Nichols at Dookie college. This is about making sure that we have investment in infrastructure out near our primary producers so that the extension and adoption of that technology will continue—to ensure also that they are able to dictate the type of research that's important to them, not just for drought but also through these research and development corporations, getting value for money for that $1.1 billion that is placed out there.

But one of the things we haven't done well is the commercialisation of the best and brightest in this world. That's why last week we announced programs with $34 million worth of grants to incentivise those ideas—to go from ideas to actual adoption and commercialisation, to get a return that will be reinvested back into our most precious asset, our human capital, who are out there in the new pillar of agriculture.

This is about putting the environment around agriculture to continue to grow and to reach its goal of $100 billion by 2030.