Cooperative Research Centre for Northern Australia seeking Kimberley Board members

Written on the 25 February 2016 by Jael Napper

Cooperative Research Centre for Northern Australia seeking Kimberley Board members

A consultation session with key stakeholders in the West Kimberley Agriculture and Food industries was called by the Department of Innovation and Science in Broome this week.

The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Developing Northern Australia is spawned from the White Paper to draw together businesses, governments and researchers to identify opportunities for business and growth in the north.

At the consultation session n Broome, interim Chair John Wharton (Mayor of Queensland's Richmond Shire Council) said he had proposed to focus the CRC on food, agriculture and tropical health sectors over others such as tourism and mining in order to ensure results by minimising the scope.

In this early stage of forming the CRC Body, BCCI President Rhondda Chappell said it's imperative that the Kimberley is represented on the Board and issued a call for candidates to apply.

"There were seven consultation sessions in Queensland, three in WA. It's imperative that the North West has decent representation on the Board of the CRC and I urge Broome businesses to consider applying."

During the session Mr Wharton seemed unsure if pearling would fall under aquaculture, questioning whether that industry would be categorised as food.

Cygnet Bay Pearls' James Brown said, "It would be very odd if aquaculture is included in the CRC brief but pearling wasn't, so I expect it will be eligible. Pearling like all industries that are looking to adapt to current challenges and set themselves for future prosperity need to find assistance with innovation wherever possible and this CRC should give businesses that fall under its brief another research funding opportunity and that is fundamentally a good thing."

In response to all questions put to Mr Wharton and the department representatives, the overall key message delivered to the room was for any interested parties to send a single page brief of proposed research needs which would be responded to accordingly.

All parties who submit a proposal for research funding would automatically become shareholders and receive voting rights for the Board.

It is expected that the CRC will be bedded by May 2016 with the first projects approved as early as July.

Image caption:  John Wharton,

Author:Jael Napper

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