Policy Statement released
On 11 October 2021, the Australian Government released the National Agricultural Innovation Policy Statement. The statement provides direction for improving the Australian agricultural innovation system to drive productivity growth across agriculture and its supply chain.
The statement establishes four new National Agricultural Innovation Priorities that target exports, climate resilience, biosecurity and digital agriculture. These priorities will align efforts and target investment across the agricultural innovation system to achieve a more profitable, productive and sustainable agricultural industry.
For more information see below.
|National Agricultural Innovation Policy Statement PDF||18||3.4 MB|
|National Agricultural Innovation Policy Statement DOCX||29||931 KB|
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Additional funding for Innovation Hubs
On 6 October 2021, the Australian Government announced an additional $20 million in funding to assist the eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs (Innovation Hubs) to expand beyond their current drought resilience remit and into broader agricultural innovation activities. The Innovation Hubs will play a key role in helping to build innovation capacity and culture across the sector.
|Factsheet: Supporting agricultural innovation PDF||2||258 KB|
|Factsheet: Supporting agricultural innovation DOCX||2||593 KB|
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Innovation drives productivity growth, sustainability and resilience across Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries. Australia needs a world-class agricultural innovation system that can quickly respond and adapt to the emerging risks and opportunities of the 21st century.
Australian agriculture increasingly faces big, complex challenges and opportunities, driven by changing global markets, increasing international competition, technological disruption, climate and water-related risk and global economic shocks—such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
We need to position Australian agriculture, forestry and fisheries to continue its success story. Where farmers can easily adopt innovation and technologies on farm, delivering value to the Australian community now and into the future.
Accountability and transparency are important components of the Australian Government’s agricultural innovation agenda. We’re making sure that farmers receive a clear return on their investment from their industry levies and that they reap the benefits of innovation.
Case for change
The Agricultural Innovation – A National Approach to Grow Australia’s Future report made the case for improved leadership and cohesion.
We asked you how to improve the rural research and development corporation (RDC) system. You told us that a one-size fits all approach to reform isn’t appropriate and that there is scope to prioritise important cross-sectoral research on big national challenges such as climate resilience and water resource management. You also confirmed the need for greater focus on improving the uptake of innovation in Australian agriculture.
The COVID-19 pandemic reinforces that innovation is critical for long-term prosperity and growth, and that improvements must start with national leadership –leading the way for a more coordinated and cohesive approach to agricultural innovation.
Pillars of Reform
Through the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda, the Australian Government is providing national leadership and driving improvements across the agricultural innovation system by targeting 5 Pillars of Reform:
- strengthening ecosystem leadership, cohesion and culture through clear strategic direction and increased collaboration
- improving the balance of funding and investment to deliver both incremental and transformational innovation, and growing private sector and international investment
- embedding world-class innovation practices through greater transparency and entrepreneurship
- strengthening our regions to achieve greater uptake of innovation
- creating the next generation innovation platform by improving the foundations of agricultural innovation, including data and regulatory settings.
Outcomes and actions
National Agricultural Innovation Policy Statement
Action: Release a policy statement on how we will deliver on the Pillars of Reform.
On 11 October 2021, the Australian Government released the National Agricultural Innovation Policy Statement. This statement is an important part of the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda announced in September 2020.
The Policy Statement clarifies the objectives and priorities for the agricultural innovation system over the long term. It outlines a strategy for how Australia can use agricultural innovation to position the sector as resilient, profitable and internationally competitive.
The statement establishes four new priorities to align efforts and target investment within the innovation system.
National Agricultural Innovation Priorities
Action: Develop mission-oriented priorities to guide investment and action.
The National Agricultural Policy Statement establishes four new innovation priorities that set challenges for Australia’s agricultural innovation system. These priorities will focus efforts and investments across Australia’s agricultural innovation system and will help achieve greater returns on-farm and along the supply chain. This will help to achieve greater returns for agriculture on-farm and along the supply chain over the long term.
The four innovation priorities are:
- Australia is a trusted exporter of premium food and agricultural products by 2030
- Australia will champion climate resilience to increase the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agricultural sector by 2030
- Australia is a world leader in preventing and rapidly responding to significant incursions of pests and diseases through futureproofing our biosecurity system by 2030
- Australia is a mature adopter, developer and exporter of digital agriculture by 2030
Targeted priorities will help align efforts to address shared national challenges and help Australian agriculture take advantage of strategic opportunities. They will help Australia’s agricultural innovation system increase its focus on transformational, cross-sectoral activities and research for the public good.
Action: Provide $2.8 million to Agricultural Innovation Australia to drive a new cross-industry approach to agricultural innovation.
The Government is providing $2.8 million in funding to support Agricultural Innovation Australia, a new cross-industry approach to address the big, national challenges facing the agricultural sector. This includes $1.5 million for AIA develop investment strategies to support the new innovation priorities. We are working together to deliver a new nationally focused, whole-of-sector approach to agricultural innovation that that will increase impact on-farm and along the supply chain and deliver value for the Australian community.
RDCs remain the cornerstone of the agricultural innovation system and have been instrumental in underpinning the productivity of Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries for 4 decades.
RDCs are responsible for investing around $800 million each year, with almost $300 million of this from Australian Government funding and around $500 million from industry levies.
In partnership with the RDCs, the government is continuing to drive improvements in the RDC system.
The Future Drought Fund shows how we can target investment in an area of national importance and deliver more transformative outcomes for the public good.
In addressing complex and cross-sectoral challenges, accountability and transparency to industry and the broader community must remain key to RDC activities. As co-funders of the system, innovation investments must continue to demonstrate value and returns for levy payers and taxpayers.
Action: Develop a strategy to set the digital foundations to drive the widespread uptake of digital agriculture
Digital technologies will be the foundation of the next major wave of agricultural productivity. The Australian Farm Institute estimates that full adoption of digital tools by the agriculture sector could boost productivity by around $20.3 billion each year. Digital agriculture will deliver growth and employment opportunities across the sector and into the heart of our regional economies.
The government is developing a Digital Foundations for Agriculture Strategy that will set the foundations for widespread uptake of digital technologies across our agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries.
We will continue to work with industry, state and territory governments and participants from across the agricultural innovation system to:
- improve the sector’s readiness to adopt new technologies
- build a digitally capable and equipped agriculture workforce
- improve the use of data for decision making.
We will investigate barriers to greater use and uptake of digital agriculture and agtech and the role of government in supporting the agriculture industry to digitalise.
We will also draw on the recently released Australian Council of Learned Academies’ The Future of Agricultural technologies report in developing the Digital Foundations for Agriculture Strategy.
Action: Work with the RDCs to deliver digital platforms that support uptake of innovation and commercialisation outcomes.
There are opportunities to get better value from our investments in agricultural research by sharing our research, building opportunities for collaboration, and showcasing our innovations to international investors.
The internationally focused growAG platform is allowing RDCs and others across the system to showcase their technologies to the world. Launched in April 2021, the Australian Government contributed $2 million to develop the platform which will accelerate commercialisation through private sector investment, encourage new collaborations and leverage global expertise.
We are also providing $600,000 (excl. GST) to Integrity Systems to support the initial development stages of the Australian Agrifood Data Exchange platform. The platform aims to allow primary participants from across agrifood value chain to exchange their data efficiently, on agreed terms with trusted service providers or other interested parties such as governments and researchers.
World-class innovation and strengthened regions
Action: Work with RDCs and industry to strengthen extension, adoption and commercialisation across the sector.
Extension and adoption of innovation by farmers, making sure investments meet on-farm and supply chain needs, will be critical if we are to realise the benefits of our investments in the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda. To deliver the growth benefits we know innovation will bring, we must ensure it can be easily adopted at the grass-roots level.
RDCs can demonstrate leadership to drive improved uptake of innovation. We are working with RDCs to strengthen extension, adoption and commercialisation of innovation by supporting a focus on co-design for innovation where the insights and needs of farmers and other end users guide action and investment. We are working with RDC and industry organisations to develop:
- guidelines for mandatory statutory funding agreements with KPIs against the five principles for increased commercialisation
- a best practice guide to stakeholder engagement
- a best practice guide to commercialisation.
We will also strengthen extension, adoption and commercialisation by supporting grass-roots activities, such as Farmers2Founders, which aim to unlock the potential of producers and equip them to act as frontline innovators and skilled entrepreneurs.
Action: Opportunities to scale up agricultural innovation hubs and precincts.
The Australian Government is providing $86 million for the Future Drought Fund Research and Adoption Program that includes $66 million over four years for eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs (Innovation Hubs) across regional Australia.
The Innovation Hubs complement one of the key pillars of the Innovation Agenda, namely Embedding world-class innovation practices through greater collaboration and entrepreneurship.
On 6 October 2021, the Australian Government announced an additional $20 million in funding to assist these hubs to expand beyond their current drought resilience remit and into broader agricultural innovation activities. The expanded Innovation Hubs will play a key role in helping to build innovation capacity and culture across the sector.