THE TWO organisations responsible for the overseeing of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) have welcomed the Federal Government’s recent response to the senate inquiry into agricultural research, development and extension (R,D&E).
Andrew Weidemann, chairman of Grain Producers Australia (GPA) said it was particularly pleasing to see the Government recognise the push to upgrade the levy collection process.
“We have long been arguing for data collection regarding the levy payer so we have a clearer idea of who is producing the grain, where they are producing and how they are producing it, so the Government agreeing to a levy payer registry is a good thing.”
Alicia Garden, chief executive of GrainGrowers (GGL) also gave the Government response thumbs up.
"We are pleased to see that the government has agreed to most recommendations from the Report, such as development of levy payer registers and greater clarity for industry regarding levy application and amendment decisions,” she said.
But there is still plenty more on the wishlist.
Mr Weidemann said he was hoping to see the GRDC board move towards direct election and an industry debate on changes to the GRDC, such as the potential to become an industry owned corporation (IOC).
“I think direct representation on the board of a body like this is critical.”
He said there needed to be further conversation among growers about the logistics of a move from the GRDC operating as a statutory body to an IOC.
“People need to understand the complexities, what are legislative constraints of the various options and have an idea of how they want the GRDC to evolve.”
“We aim to work together with GGL to achieve that, but the first thing is getting the data base up and running.”
Ms Garden agreed that there needed to be debate over a potential IOC.
"Over the next few years, growers will have the opportunity to consider whether they would like to see GRDC’s governance model shift to an Industry Owned Corporation (IOC) and whether they see value in a proportion of their levy invested in market support and promotion,” she said.