The West Australian article by Jo Fulwood
The Grains Research and Development Corporation should move towards an Industry Owned Corporation, according to findings from an independent strategic governance review released last week.
The Marsden Jacobs report cites amendments to the Primary Industry Research and Development Act 1989 (PIRD Act) as limiting the decision-making autonomy of the GRDC, which would impact on access to financial reserves, employment flexibility and the GRDC’s ability to establish new business entities.
According to the report, in order to deliver the best possible research and development outcomes for levy payers, the GRDC needs a governance structure that sharpens its connection to growers.
“This requires the removal of unnecessary red tape and constraints to accountability and decision making autonomy,” the report stated.
“While the GRDC appears to be making progress in improving transparency and performance to levy paying growers, we have received clear feedback that many grains sector stakeholders believe there are substantive risks to the durability of a current statutory corporation model.”
The report identifies these risks as political and bureaucratic interference in decision making, and disenfranchisement of growers through insufficient accountability back to growers.
WA Grains Group chairman Doug Clarke welcomed the report, saying the findings were moving in the right direction for industry research and development reform.
“We are very supportive of a move to an industry owned corporation, because of issues such as accessing the $200 million reserve account,” he said. “This is an opportunity for change and for progressing other key issues such as proportional representation and a right to vote on the amount of the levy.”
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