Today the Abbott Government launched the Coalition’s rural research and development grants program to much fanfare.
What Barnaby Joyce was noticeably quiet on was the fact the Abbott Government cut $11 million from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and $80 million from the Cooperative Research Centres in the Budget. Just today it has been confirmed by the Industry Minister himself that some CRCS will close.
On top of this, the Government’s $114 million cut to the CSIRO will directly impact agriculture research and development.
The agriculture sector simply cannot trust what the Abbott Government promises. Giving R&D funding with one hand while taking with the other is deceptive and disappointing.
Labor will be watching the application process closely, we suspect much like the experience of farmers applying for drought funding, that Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) may find the process too arduous and complicated. This means that the Government will not spend the allocated $25 million in the first round for 2014/15 and will return the funds to consolidated revenue.
The Government has given the RDCs one month to apply - this will be a tight deadline for many applicants and galling from a Government that has taken more than 12 months to deliver one of its key election promises.
WEDNESDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2014