Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce has announced the passing of several legislative amendments aimed to assist Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) deliver improved services to levy payers and to reduce the red tape burden on industry.
The bills ensure greater consistency of governance across the 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations (five statutory and ten industry-owned) and provide mechanisms for all RDCs to access government matching funding for voluntary contributions made by businesses to an RDC.
The Cotton Research & Development Corporation (CRDC) is a statutory RDC that operates under the PIERD Act (1989). Cotton Australia is the representative organisation under the Act responsible for providing advice on industry research priorities for the investment of the cotton research levy (at $2.25 / bale).
The amendments were triggered by a Productivity Commission report in 2011 which proposed:
- Introduction of Statutory Funding Agreements 9SFAs) for statutory RDCs
- Allowing statutory RDCs to undertake marketing activities
- Removal of the requirement for statutory RDCs to submit their annual operating plans to the minister
- Removal of product specific maximum levy rates
- Allowing government matching funding for voluntary contributions to RDCs
- Changes to the process for selection of statutory RDC board directors
CRDC has recently reported for 2012/13 a grower levy income of $11.801 million and an investment of $15.632 million in RD&E activities.
During 2012/13 CRDC invested in 178 projects under management on behalf of the industry and Australian Government.
Cotton Australia advisory panels exist to review current and proposed projects in the CRDC programs for: Farmers, Industry, Customers, People and Performance.
The panels meet several times during the year to review projects and proposals in light of the CRDC strategic plan and emerging industry needs.
The panels met recently to provide advice to CRDC on the Full Research Proposals under consideration for the Corporations 2014/15 budget.
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