'We should be world number one for ag research and development'

We should be world number one for ag research and development: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud

Politics
EXPAND: David Littleproud wants to research and development to be another pillar of the agriculture sector. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

EXPAND: David Littleproud wants to research and development to be another pillar of the agriculture sector. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

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"We are currently number 20 in the world for research and development, I think we can be number one."

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THE new Agriculture Minister wants to make Australia the world's number one nation in agricultural research and development.

David Littleproud was reappointed the Agriculture Minister last week in a cabinet reshuffle, returning to the portfolio he previously held for a year and half.

Mr Littleproud, who took over the role after Senator Bridget McKenzie's resignation following the sports rort scandal, said he sought out the ag portfolio when the job came up.

"I enjoyed agriculture, I've lived in regional Australia and worked in an agricultural occupation my whole life," he said.

"I have a passion for it, so it's great to come back and continue contributing."

With his new powers, Mr Littleproud wants to revamp the sector's research and development, "creating another pillar" with in agriculture.

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"We are currently number 20 in the world for research and development, I think we can be number one," Mr Littleproud said.

"I want to bring the best minds in the world together, right here in Australia, to focus on agriculture."

Mr Littleproud flagged significant reforms to the sector's 15 levy-payer funded Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) when he last held the ag portfolio, stating "stakeholders need more bang for their buck".

"That's one of the pieces of work I started last time and it poses a real opportunity," Mr Littleproud said.

"We've lost generations of young people out of regional and rural Australia - it's time to bring them home.

"Not all of them will be able to return to the farm, but we can create new jobs in science and technology, creating the tools and equipment farmers can use to make more money."

Mr Littleproud also holds the drought and emergency services portfolio, which he said would work hand-in-hand with the agriculture portfolio.

"I wanted to hold on to those [portfolios] to make sure we get the drought and bushfires' recovery response right," Mr Littleproud said.

"We won't skimp on either. Although they are both effectively natural disasters, they have very different responses required.

"We've already got $8 billion committed to the drought and an initial down payment of $2 billion for the bushfires."

The story 'We should be world number one for ag research and development' first appeared on Farm Online.

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