The Australian Government has developed clear, farmer-oriented priorities to target rural research, development and extension (RD&E) funding. The Rural RD&E Priorities, as published in the 2015 Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper are:
- advanced technology, to enhance innovation of products, processes and practices across the food and fibre supply chains through technologies such as robotics, digitisation, big data, genetics and precision agriculture;
- biosecurity, to improve understanding and evidence of pest and disease pathways to help direct biosecurity resources to their best uses, minimising biosecurity threats and improving market access for primary producers;
- soil, water and managing natural resources, to manage soil health, improve water use efficiency and certainty of supply, sustainably develop new production areas and improve resilience to climate events and impacts; and
- adoption of R&D, focusing on flexible delivery of extension services that meet primary producers’ needs and recognising the growing role of private service delivery.
A common understanding of rural research priorities will better position Australia’s agricultural, fisheries, forestry and food industries to embrace innovations and adopt new technologies to respond to market changes, open up new markets and maintain a competitive edge in the face of economic and climatic challenges.
The Rural RD&E Priorities were developed through the consultation process that led to the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. State and territory ministers agreed to the Rural RD&E Priorities at the Agricultural Ministers’ Forum on 20 May 2016. The Rural RD&E Priorities will enable issues of common concern to be explored in a coordinated and cost effective way.
The Rural RD&E Priorities are consistent with the national Science and Research Priorities announced in May 2015. The national priorities are designed to increase investment in areas of immediate and critical importance to Australia and its place in the world.
The Rural R,D&E Priorities focus R,D&E investment in areas of greatest need and are particularly important in guiding the rural research and development corporations and thus impact significantly on the work of research providers and other research investors in related fields.
The Rural RD&E Priorities replace the national Rural Research and Development Priorities adopted in 2007.