AN independent review into the governance of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has recommended the current government-run model needs to change.
Economic consultants Marsden Jacob completed the report for Grain Producers Australia (GPA), the current grower organisation responsible for overseeing GRDC as part of its role as the representative organisation (RO) under the Government Primary Industry and Energy Research and Development (PIERD) Act.
The report has advocated a major shake-up in the structure of GRDC, saying a move to either an industry-owned model, similar to those of Dairy Australia or Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), or a hybrid model with increased industry-owned features in the current statutory model.
GPA chairman Andrew Weidemann said the review was about finding the structure for GRDC that delivered maximum efficiency to growers.
“Growers have called for this review to ensure that the structure of the GRDC is best placed to deliver the benefits their businesses continue to require,” he said.
Almost all the major grain grower organisations have participated in the governance review.
Chairman of the Western Australian Grains Group (WAGG) Doug Clarke said his group was advocating a change in the way GRDC was run.
“It is time for the GRDC to transition to an unlisted public company, limited by guarantee,” he said.
He said WAGG believed the current Statutory Corporation system had run its race and if left to continue would become increasingly inefficient.
“The new legislation will cause the GRDC to increasingly become more bureaucratic, less flexible, less responsive and less able to support innovation in its current guise.”
He said a WAGG model would have proportional voting by levy payers and would be based in Adelaide.
Mr Weidemann said the next step in the process would be getting grain grower groups together in September to develop a response to the report.
“We encourage all grain farmers to contact their representative organisation with their view on the report so that these discussions are thoroughly informed.”