GAYLE TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture) (12:05): I am pleased to update the house on how the Andrews Labor government is supporting our agriculture sector to meet the challenges of a changing climate. Recently I had the pleasure of being in Horsham to announce a $30 million co-investment between the Labor government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. This government’s $15 million contribution is supporting the Australian Grains Genebank to modernise its work, which means that farmers will have access to new varieties of key crops sooner.
The Australian Grains Genebank, located at Agriculture Victoria’s Horsham SmartFarm, is truly world class, and it is a project which catalogues grain varieties from around the world and adapts them to provide farmers with high-yielding, adaptable and profitable grain crop varieties. I cannot overemphasise the importance of this work. It means that new crop varieties can more quickly be developed and provided to farmers, which incorporate improved disease, heat and drought resistance. This work is crucial to ensuring that Australia’s $40 billion grains sector can continue to be productive and sustainable and indeed feed us as it adapts to climate change. To quote John Woods, the chair of the Grains Research and Development Corporation board:
This is a fantastic opportunity … to ensure that we have got the best varieties coming into growers’ hands … so that when climate adaptation issues come along we are well positioned to ensure that our varieties are bang-on fit for purpose.
I would like to extend my thanks to the Grains Research and Development Corporation board for their support and congratulate our expert scientists at Agriculture Victoria for their outstanding contribution to the Australian Grains Genebank.