National Farmers' Federation

Farmers welcome findings from R&D levy inquiry

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the release of a report that reaffirms the importance of Australia’s R&D agricultural levy system, handed down by the Australian Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee in Canberra yesterday.
The report, Industry structures and systems governing the imposition and disbursement of marketing and research and development (R&D) levies in the agricultural sector, provides a general endorsement of the levy system.
NFF President Brent Finlay said it was positive to see Senators acknowledge the widespread support for the current levy system, while putting forward considered recommendations to ensure levies are imposed fairly and expenditure is accountable to farmer levy payers.
“We have long supported the agricultural R&D levy system: it’s a system that delivers pooled funds for valuable industry research and development, marketing and biosecurity preparedness measures that would otherwise be unaffordable for the majority of farmers,” Mr Finlay said.
The NFF believe the recommendations put forward in the final report will benefit the agricultural sector once fully implemented. In particular, the recommendation to implement a central levy payer database, a measure suggested by the NFF, will greatly improve engagement between farmers and Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs).
“Findings from the Senate inquiry build on a number of reports from recent years, which have given the RDCs a clean bill of health. It’s sensible to continually assess the performance of the R&D model – tweaks can always be made to improve value for money to farmers and government,” Mr Finlay said.
“The partnership between government and the agriculture industry based on the RDC co-contribution is an important plank of Australia’s research capability. The NFF looks forward to working with the RDCs and government on progressing the Inquiry’s recommendations.”

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