Fund­ing for ag centre probe

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Jaala Pul­ford has used a visit to the Wim­mera to con­firm a State Gov­ern­ment bud­get com­mit­ment to fund a busi­ness case for a Net­worked Grains Centre of Ex­cel­lence.

Ms Pul­ford said the gov­ern­ment had al­lo­cated $250,000 for the project.

She said the grains in­dus­try in the Wim­mera and south­ern Mallee had a proud his­tory of gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try part­ner­ships in grains in­no­va­tion.

Ms Pul­ford said a Net­worked Grains Centre of Ex­cel­lence would be a vir­tual centre with a fo­cal point lo­cated at Grains In­no­va­tion Park in Hor­sham.

Grains In­no­va­tion Park on Na­timuk Road, which has pre­vi­ously been called Victorian Wheat Re­search In­sti­tute, Victorian Crops Re­search In­sti­tute and Victorian In­sti­tute of Dry­land Agri­cul­ture, was es­tab­lished as a part­ner­ship be­tween the Victorian gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try in 1960.

It pro­vides the re­gional grains in­dus­try with ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy and ex­per­tise to sup­port in­no­va­tion.

A Wim­mera South­ern Mallee Re­gional Part­ner­ship iden­ti­fied at an au­gu­ral assem­bly last year that a Net­worked Grains Centre of Ex­cel­lence was a pri­or­ity in 2016.

Ms Pul­ford said en­hanc­ing strate­gic part­ner­ships with a new busi­ness model would cre­ate an op­por­tu­nity to at­tract in­no­va­tive en­ter­prises and in­vest­ment into the grains sec­tor and grow the rep­u­ta­tion of Hor­sham as an in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised in­no­va­tion centre. “We’re con­tin­u­ing to in­vest in our food and fi­bre pro­duc­ers and in the heart and soul of our grain-grow­ing wheat­belt. There’s no bet­ter place for sci­ence and in­no­va­tion for our grains in­dus­try than in the Wim­mera,” she said.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lowed a joint fund­ing deal be­tween the Grains Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and the State Gov­ern­ment for a re­newed five-year, $52-mil­lion re­search agree­ment.

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Vic­to­ria and Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria have worked closely with the Wim­mera South­ern Mallee Re­gional Part­ner­ship on the terms of ref­er­ence for a work­ing group to progress the project.

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