Cooperative Research Australia Chair Belinda Robinson, CEO Jane O’Dwyer, and cooperative research community.
Thank you for inviting me to your 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner and I am delighted to be with you.
Whenever I hear the name “CRC Program”, what immediately comes to mind is that it is a great Australian success story, and with good reason.
The CRC Program delivers strong results for Australia. It turns our research investments into tangible benefits, economic gains and job opportunities.
So coming together to celebrate the program’s achievements over the past three decades is something that I’ve truly looked forward to.
And this celebration couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.
Around the world, we’re seeing the triumph of science and research over the COVID-19 pandemic, where science and research is working hand in hand with industry:
Whether it’s to understand how the virus works, develop vaccines, conduct clinical trials, treat COVID patients, or develop personal protective equipment.
What’s becoming clear is that after a difficult two years, people the world over – including here in Australia – are learning to live with COVID and are getting their lives back, thanks to cooperation between researchers, industry and government.
When industry and researchers come together, problems get solved.
In Australia, you couldn’t find a better example of this relationship than the industry led partnerships spawned by the Morrison Government’s CRC Program.
Looking at the CRC Program is like opening a window onto Australia.
If you want to know those things that are important to us as a nation, look at the CRC program.
It reveals how Australian ingenuity is tackling challenges in our environment, including bushfires, drought and flood.
It opens up exciting vistas of innovations in mining, agriculture, medical technology and manufacturing – all key sectors of the Australian economy.
And Australia is all the better for it.
For the past three decades, the government has invested $5.4 billion dollars in the CRC Program, leveraging $16.4 billion dollars in cash and in-kind contributions from partners.
This investment has helped translate research into practical results that directly benefit every Australian.
It’s helped Australian businesses solve problems in manufacturing, mining, farming, defence, cyber security, waste and recycling, health and other sectors.
I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the tangible achievements of the program, including:
- Cutting-edge exploration drilling technologies.
- The technology underpinning the Cochlear ear implants.
- The flaps and spoilers of Boeing Dreamliners.
- Non-toxic, durable and eco-friendly flame retardants.
- Improved sheep breeding using digital technology – and more.
These and other examples represent successful commercialisation of CRC research breakthroughs, which have helped deliver access to new markets, support economic growth and create jobs.
They’ve also led to improvements in health and wellbeing, positive environmental outcomes, and increased safety and security for Australia.
What’s more, the program nurtures the future leaders we need to carry on this tradition of bringing industry and research together to solve problems by providing education and training opportunities for the next generation of Australian innovators.
Some 4,000 PhD graduates have been supported – and counting.
That’s why the Morrison Government is a strong advocate of industry-led research partnerships.
Greater teamwork between industry and researchers is critical to our commitment to make science and technology work for industry.
It will improve research commercialisation outcomes, drive productivity growth, create new jobs and add to our economic prosperity.
Our government’s commitment to the CRC Program remains strong.
Over the four years to 2025–26, we’re injecting $783 million dollars into the program.
This investment is supporting projects that will take discoveries from the lab bench to real-world applications.
Just last week, I was really pleased to announce the outcomes of CRC Projects Round 12, which will provide $32 million dollars in grant funding to support 13 projects.
A further $56 million dollars in cash and in-kind contributions will come from 62 partners.
Round 12 projects will address a wide variety of industry challenges and improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.
These include challenges in our National Manufacturing Priority areas: from medical products to critical minerals processing to clean energy.
Also last week, we opened Round 13 CRC Projects for applications from all industry sectors.
At least 70 per cent of funding available has been ear-marked to projects that support the National Manufacturing Priorities.
Applications close on May 5.
A thriving manufacturing sector in Australia is a top priority for our government.
The supply chain challenges we’ve faced following the outbreak of COVID and war in Ukraine reinforce our commitment to support local manufacturing.
The Morrrison Government is investing to build our sovereign manufacturing capability.
Australian researchers operating from our world-class universities and research agencies have an important role to play in making this plan a success.
Last month, the Prime Minister announced Australia’s University Research Commercialisation Action Plan.
We are placing national manufacturing priorities at the core of Australian Government-funded research.
This $2.2 billion dollar investment will boost commercialisation and strengthen the capacity for partnerships between university researchers and industry.
CSIRO will also benefit from more than $37 million dollars in new funding to establish a Research Translation Startup program as part of this year’s Budget.
The new program will help build further cooperation between CSIRO and industry and supercharge their commercialisation journeys.
Of course, programs by themselves don’t deliver results. It’s the people behind programs that make all the difference.
We’re lucky to have great research and industry leaders, many in this room, who work tirelessly to ensure the CRC Program continues to deliver strong results.
I want to thank you all for your contribution to the program.
With your support, the future of Australian industry looks bright.
Congratulations on a well-deserved 30th anniversary celebration!