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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2010
28 YEARBOOK 2010 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA Cattle Council spearheads research, development and extension Research and Development is a central priority for Cattle Council as the sector undergoes a period of structural change. Cattle Council's research and development policy has input from State member organisations and is enhanced through our close working relationship with the Northern Australian Beef Research Council (NABRC) and the recently restructured Southern Australian Meat Research Council (SAMRC). Cattle Council also has a Research and Development taskforce to work on R&D policy issues for the broader Council. The most significant milestone in Research and Development for the past year has been an agreement by the industry and State and Commonwealth Government research agencies to a National Beef Production RD&E strategy. The NABRC/SAMRC article in this yearbook gives a comprehensive summary of the National Primary Industries RD&E framework and how Cattle Council fits in, through its relationship with MLA, NABRC and SAMRC. With the enhanced role of NABRC and SAMRC under the national strategy, Cattle Council is working to formalise its existing relationship with the two organisations to match the advisory function of NABRC and SAMRC with the executive function that Cattle Council has in signing off on the MLA annual operating plan. From a Cattle Council of Australia viewpoint, the concept of a national strategy is a good one, but its success will depend on how effectively resources are coordinated and deployed by each of the agencies involved. The national strategy should lead to a more consistent approach to research and development, by giving national focus to research priorities. It should also lead to more consistent delivery of research findings and extension activities across different regions and state jurisdictions. Beef producers will need to take care that the national strategy is not used by State agencies as an excuse to withdraw effort in research and development. Cattle Council will expect each agency to specialise in what they do best to achieve the best results for the beef industry and the economies, communities and environment in rural Australia. Cattle Council would expect that any reduction in research effort by a state agency would be replaced by increased efforts in adapting research to regional situations and delivering useful information and decision making tools to producers. OTHER R&D ISSUES OF INTEREST Before the next Cattle Council yearbook is released, the Productivity Commission will have reported to Government on its findings of a review of Rural Research and Development Corporations. The inquiry will examine a broad scope of issues including the rationale for Government investment in rural research and development and the effectiveness and appropriate funding levels of the rural research and development corporation model. Cattle Council will be actively participating in this inquiry. Cattle Council is also participating in the NFF 2050 committee which has a strong emphasis on research and development. Cattle Council and NFF will be looking for a reinvigorated approach to investment in rural research and development from major political parties in their 2010 election commitments. From a Cattle Council of Australia viewpoint, the concept of a national strategy is a good one, but its success will depend on how effectively resources are coordinated and deployed by each of the agencies involved. Paul Fry Industry and Policy Analyst Cattle Council of Australia