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Investment in R&D paying dividends for rural Australia.

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AFFA02/1T 5 March 2002

Investment in R&D paying dividends for rural Australia

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Judith Troeth, today launched a new report demonstrating how a decade of investment in research and development has helped our rural industries become more competitive, profitable and environmentally sustainable.

The report, Innovating Rural Australia: Research & Development Corporation Outcomes, is the first compilation of information about the outcomes of the rural R&D Corporations (RDCs) and it demonstrates the need to maintain our investment in rural R&D in Australia’s long-term interests.

Importantly, the report highlights the return on the research and development dollar against the ‘quadruple bottom line’ of improving the competitiveness of rural industries; improving the sustainability of rural industries; delivering benefits to the wider community and improving RDCs accountability to industry and government.

“Returns from our investment in rural R&D have been estimated by independent surveys at greater than 7:1.  In the decade to 1999, rural sector productivity grew by an average of 2.2 per cent a year during extremely difficult trading and global economic conditions,” Senator Troeth said.

“Our thriving rural industries continue to adapt and be at the forefront of change — they are innovative, modern and diverse.  They are export-oriented and highly involved in value-adding, to successfully compete in the international marketplace.”

R&D support for the rural sector ensures its future productivity and sustainability, and is part of the science, engineering and technological advances that will underpin future national prosperity.

Senator Troeth said that the RDC model is a successful investment management model, unique in the world, and represents a true partnership between Government and Industry. This partnership is based on the Commonwealth Government's commitment to match dollar-for-dollar industry contributions to 0.5 per cent of each industry's gross value of production.

In 2000-2001, rural industries and the Commonwealth Government each invested $173 million by way of industry levies, matching dollars and appropriation funds.  With these monies, and drawing on reserves and other income sources, the RDCs funded more than $364 million of rural-related R&D.

The Government's continuing investment in rural R&D confirms the importance placed on the RDCs to deliver benefits to industry, the wider community and preserve our natural resources, particularly in rural and regional Australia. Government funding allows for rural industries to invest in wider ‘public good’ R&D that promotes sustainable natural resource use, environmental quality, improved food safety and improvements in occupational health and safety.

Investment in R&D paying dividends for rural Australia — AFFA (1 of 2) [11/04/2002 2:43:12]

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Rosemary Agar on 0409 965 286.

A PDF version of the report is available for downloading.

Further inquiries: Senator Troeth's office, Rosemary Agar 0409 965 286.

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Last updated 5 March 2002.

Investment in R&D paying dividends for rural Australia — AFFA (2 of 2) [11/04/2002 2:43:12]