Page 3797 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 September 2018

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It is for this reason that plant and agricultural sciences were identified as one of the priority sectors in the ACT government’s business development strategy, confident and business ready: building on our strengths.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, what update can you provide regarding the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology?

MR GENTLEMAN: The ACT government has had a development relationship with the agricultural sector for some time. In 2008 the ACT government provided $1.1 million to establish the Canberra node of an $18 million Australian plant phenomics facility at CSIRO’s Black Mountain facility. The facility provides state-of-the-art phenotyping tools and expertise to help academic and commercial plant scientists understand and relate the performance of plants to their genetic make-up.

In 2014 funding was provided towards a scoping study for the now-established joint ANU-CSIRO national agricultural and environmental sciences precinct. The precinct brings together the expertise from industry, research and government to provide world-leading solutions to natural resource management and food security.

More recently, the Chief Minister and the ANU Vice-Chancellor launched the new $1.2 million Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology, a collaboration between the ANU and CSIRO within the national agricultural and environmental sciences precinct. According to the QS World University rankings, ANU ranks as one of the world’s top 25 universities in the subjects of agriculture and environmental sciences. The CSIRO also calls Canberra home and is considered to be one of the world’s top publicly funded institutions doing the most to advance science and technology.

The ACT government provided $500,000 towards the establishment of this centre, which aims to position Canberra as the Asia-Pacific hub for research, industry and education in plant and agricultural sciences. This will be achieved by translating research into product development, facilitation of collaboration between researchers and industry and fostering a culture of innovation in agri-technology through industry-aligned seminars, training and placements.

MS CODY: Minister, how will the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology, CEAT, help the agriculture industry in the territory and across the nation?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Cody for the question. Amongst the many challenges facing the world is that of feeding ourselves into the future in light of dangerous global warming and other challenges that face farmers and food producers. How can we double food production by 2050 in light of these challenges?

The answer is: we have to be smart. This is where the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology has a very important role to play. It will be a leader in addressing such problems by transforming the way agri-technology is developed and used in Australia and across the world. The centre will also provide entrepreneurs and farmers with access to the latest innovative solutions and discoveries; opportunity for

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