Release type: Joint Media Release


Research to boost Australian agriculture


The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Education
Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Minister for Agriculture

Australian farmers will benefit from world-leading research to improve crop resilience and yield.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan today announced the Morrison Government would provide $35 million to establish a research centre that focuses on plant adaptive strategies and resilience.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture will be led by Professor Christine Beveridge and based at The University of Queensland.

"Our Government is investing in research that will benefit our farmers," Mr Tehan said.

"The Centre of Excellence will investigate the adaptive strategies underpinning productivity and resilience in a range of diverse plants.

"This will deepen our knowledge of the genetic and physiological traits of plants, giving breeders’ unparalleled predictive capability to improve strain quality.

"The centre will bring together a unique multidisciplinary team from academia and industry to address the problems of food security and climate change, establishing Australia as a global leader in this field of research."

Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said cutting-edge innovation and technology was key to continued profitability for Australia’s food and fibre producers.

"Australia’s farmers are offering safe, nutritious and sustainable products to Australian consumers and to the world," Ms McKenzie said.

"We need to harness the sort of world-leading research this Centre of Excellence will deliver so that we can make agriculture a $100 billion sector by 2030.

"This sort of research can contribute to higher incomes for our producers, buoyant economies in our regions, a higher gross domestic product for our nation, and happy, healthy food and fibre customers around the world."

Professor Beveridge said the team would identify nature’s success stories and translate these into opportunities to enhance yield and resilience in agricultural crops.

"By predicting the plant varieties that are best for particular environments we can help farmers choose which plants to grow in what areas for each season for the best yield," Professor Beveridge said.

"An important component of the centre is the focus on the regulatory requirements which will allow the new technologies to be scaled globally to future-proof agriculture around the world."

Member for Ryan Julian Simmonds said this important funding boost would have benefits locally as well as nationally.

"Right here in the heart of Ryan, this ground-breaking research will help to strengthen the resilience of Australian agriculture to the benefit of all Australians," Mr Simmonds said.

Researchers from The University of Queensland will collaborate with experts at four Australian universities and 13 academic and industry partner organisations from Australia, Europe, Asia, America and Canada. Together they will provide an additional $75.2 million in cash and in-kind support to the centre.

More information about the ARC Centres of Excellence program is on the ARC website.