Australia’s plant biosecurity is set to strengthen after the nation’s seven plant Research and Development Corporations (RDC’s) announced a new partnership approach to protect and enhance timber, food and fibre production.
The group – comprising Wine Australia, Forest Wood Products Australia, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Sugar Research Australia, and Horticulture Innovation Australia – is streamlining funding efforts and plans to grow bio-security investment partners.
Headed up by Horticulture Innovation Australia, the partnership approach will see an increase in the research coordination, reduction in duplication and will fill gaps in plant biosecurity research and development.
The initiative will also create better linkages between industry research and the national biosecurity systems managed by the Australian and state and territory governments.
Horticulture Innovation Australia chief executive John Lloyd said this initiative has never been more vital for Australian producers.
“Australia’s approach to managing research investment and delivery for our plant industries has been fragmented and lacking coordination. This is simply because the biosecurity space is incredibly complicated, crossing more than 50 commodities, all states and territories, and countless stakeholder groups,” he said.
Mr Lloyd said the new approach was a step change for the RDCs in their ongoing efforts to improve management of cross-sectoral research for the benefit of producers.
“The role of the Rural RDCs is to prioritise, invest in, manage and evaluate research and other activities that deliver impacts for producers and the broader community. We have the skills, people and systems to effectively deliver the research management we need for better biosecurity,” he said.
“What has been missing for plant biosecurity is the link between the research effort and the biosecurity community. Building this connection will increase our capacity to make sure our research investments are targeting national research priorities.”
Mr Lloyd said without direct co-involvement and coordination, innovation attempts will struggle. “This new initiative will see all funding and decision-making parties at the table to ensure greater coordination and activation of biosecurity investment,” he said.
The group has developed a list of principles for guiding plant biosecurity research to ensure the development of a successful cross-sectoral approach. Those principles will be used to coordinate plant biosecurity research and development decisions across all RDCs.
Mr Lloyd said identifying and funding national biosecurity research priorities with key investors, the Australian Government and Plant Health Australia would lead to a true ‘shared partnership’ approach to plant biosecurity RD&E.