The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia was released on 18 June 2015 and included $75 million over 10 years to establish a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Developing Northern Australia. The CRC is a core element of the Australian Government’s agenda for developing the north.
The CRC will assist businesses, governments and researchers to work together to identify opportunities for business and growth in the north. The CRC will be industry led, located in the north, and have an initial focus on areas where the north has particular strengths, including agriculture, food and tropical health. It will bring together industry, research organisations, all northern jurisdictions and international partners in a collaborative industry-led R&D venture.
The CRC will build on existing research, expertise and networks to quickly identify areas where collaborative research can deliver real-world outcomes and commercial opportunities that will benefit industries in northern Australia. The CRC will also establish strong links with the Australian Government’s flagship Industry Growth Centres initiative.
Mr John Wharton AM was appointed as Interim Chair of the CRC in November 2015 to consult with stakeholders and develop a proposal for consideration by Government to establish the CRC. Mr Wharton undertook extensive consultations with industry, research and government from December 2015 to 31 March 2016 and provided his proposal to Government on 5 August 2016.
The Australian Government announced in April 2016 that the City of Townsville will host the administrative headquarters of the CRC for Developing Northern Australia.
On 20 February 2017, the Australian Government announced the following members of the board that will lead the establishment of the CRC:
- Ms Sheriden Morris, Chair
- Mr Don McDonald AM OBE
- Cr John Wharton AM
- Cr Peter Long
- Ms Tracey Hayes
- Mr John Bearnes
- Ms Melissa George
This board will work closely with stakeholders to establish the CRC over the coming months.
The Government also announced the opening of an early project funding round in advance of the establishment of the CRC for Developing Northern Australia.
The CRC for Developing Northern Australia Project Funding round will provide grants of up to $3 million over terms of up to three years for collaborative research projects which address industry problems in tropical health and medicine, including models of care; and tropical and northern agriculture including animal and plant improvement and sustainability. Grants will be awarded through an open, competitive project funding round administered by AusIndustry in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
Applications for the round opened on 20 February 2017 and closed on 22 May 2017.
On 17 October 2017, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, and the Hon Craig Laundy MP, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, announced the outcomes of the project funding round. View the list of projects offered funding under the CRC Program.
The CRC for Developing Northern Australia is located at 214-216 Charters Towers Road, Hermit Park, Queensland, 4812. Further information on the CRC and its activities is available on the CRC website.