Investigation into RDCs’ management of levies

Featuring your levy and tax dollars hard at work


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Five of the 15 research development corporations take home a combined revenue of about $522 million a year.

Five of the 15 research development corporations take home a combined revenue of about $522 million a year.

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MORE THAN $675 million was collected in revenue from compulsory grower levies and public funds by 15 Research and Development Corporations last year.

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MORE THAN $675 million was collected in revenue from compulsory grower levies and public funds by 15 Research and  Development Corporations last year.  

Throughout December, Fairfax Agricultural Media journalists will be featuring news on five of the corporations through the National Ag Levy Scorecard feature.

Fairfax Agricultural Media, group managing editor, Brad Cooper said the National Ag Levy Scorecard was intended to better inform readers about their investment.

“This system not only affects the growers paying the levies, it also affects every Australian,” he said. 

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“Australia’s ability to grow food for our future population, compete in export trade and maintain our standard of living is reliant on the outputs of cutting edge research.”

Mr Cooper said five corporations were chosen for the inaugural feature; Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA), Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Cotton Research Development Corporation (CRDC).

“We wanted a cross section of industries, models and sizes,” he said. 

“HAI, MLA and AWI are all organisations that have transitioned to industry owned models, while GRDC and CRDC are still Commonwealth statutory authorities.”

Mr Cooper said the feature would focus on the investments from the compulsory research and development levy, and not marketing.  

“The focus is the use of funds provided by a compulsory grower levy and a co-contribution from public money” he said. 

“We believe our readers will want to hear from a variety of industry leaders and experts on how the RDCs perform their role. 

Mr Cooper said the scorecard information was garnered from the corporations themselves through their annual reports. 

“Annual reports run to 200 pages, though they hold a lot of valuable information, we felt key information and indicators should be highlighted and examined. 

Mr Cooper said AgriFutures, formerly the Rural Industries RDC, was invited to contribute given the changes that occurred this year, however declined to respond as the annual report had not been tabled by government. 

He said Fairfax Agricultural Media was uniquely placed for this type of feature. 

“We are passionate about providing the facts to our readers, we ourselves have skin in the game with our rural based and networked staff,” he said. 

“On top of our dedicated eight national agricultural group writers, we employee more than 60 agricultural journalists across six mastheads.”

RELATED COVERAGE: #aglevyscorecard

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