Driving agricultural innovation
On 1 April 2022, the Australian Government released the Digital Foundations for Agriculture Strategy. The Digital Strategy sets the pathway for development and widespread uptake of digital technology for agriculture and supports the new National Agricultural Innovation Digital Priority – to be a mature adopter, developer and exporter of digital agriculture by 2030.
Through the 2022-23 Budget, the Australian Government has announced an investment of $30 million towards a new National Centre for Digital Agriculture and funding for the eight existing regional Innovation Hubs to support uptake of digital agriculture.
These are key actions of the Australian Government’s National Agricultural Innovation Agenda. For more on the Digital Foundations for Agriculture Strategy and the new National Centre for Digital Agriculture, visit National Agricultural Innovation Agenda.
Australia’s primary industries have a strong tradition of being innovative and adaptive to new challenges. They have proven to be highly efficient and competitive in international markets. The outlook for the Australian primary industries sector is strong, with the world’s demand for food rising, driven by population growth and calls for higher quality and greater variety of food.
Investment in research and development (R&D) and innovation is vital for ongoing growth and improvement in the productivity, profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of Australia’s agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food industries.
The Australian Government is committed to supporting the long-term ambition of industry to achieve $100 billion by 2030. The National Agricultural Innovation Agenda is a key part of how government is helping industry deliver on this ambition.
Government investment (both federal and state/territory) in primary industries’ innovation:
- recognises that the large number of small producers could not gain an economic return from individual investment in R&D and that farm products are largely uniform and non-rival in nature
- acknowledges the significant intra- and inter-industry spillovers and regional and rural benefits that accrue from publicly supported R&D
- addresses important national development and sustainability objectives, such as biosecurity and natural resource management.
Rural research and development corporations (RDCs) are the Australian Government's primary vehicle for funding rural innovation. RDCs are a partnership between the government and industry created to share the funding and strategic direction setting for primary industry R&D, investment in R&D and the subsequent adoption of R&D outputs. The RDCs commission and manage targeted investment in research, innovation, knowledge creation and extension.
Through the National Primary Industries RD&E Framework, the Australian Government works with the state and territory governments, the universities and the CSIRO to develop and implement a national approach for rural research, development and extension (RD&E) in Australia. The Research and Innovation Committee of the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee is charged with looking for improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of rural RD&E, to maximise the contribution of RD&E to primary industries, rural and regional Australia and the wider community. The Committee is made up of representatives from the Australian, state and Northern Territory government departments responsible for primary industries, RDCs, CSIRO and universities.