The Liberal and Nationals Government will invest more than $5 million in La Trobe University to fund Australia’s first advanced protected cropping research and training project, with medicinal cannabis the first crop to be explored.
Minister for Regional Education, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said a total of more than $19 million is being invested in a range of projects to boost the research capabilities of Australia’s regional universities and, with it, create strong and thriving local economies.
Minister McKenzie said she was excited to announce the ‘Next Generation protected cropping in a regional manufacturing facility’ project, or ‘Next Gen.’, is one of five projects to be funded under the Coalition Government’s Regional Research Collaboration program.
“Australia produces world-class research, and we want our regions to contribute to that proud tradition as well as reap the benefits from it, creating more resilient regional economies,” Minister McKenzie said.
“This project will benefit the nation’s entire agricultural industry, playing a key role in how we can optimise harvest times, reduce nutrient and watering regimes to maximise production to help us reach our goal of a $100 billion agricultural industry by 2030.
“The skilled workforce developed through the project will predominantly be created in regional settings – focussing on north-west Victoria bordering the Murray-Mildura, Shepparton and Swan Hill regions, which are a major national food bowl for medicinal and horticultural crop production.
“The Liberal and Nationals Government continues to build on its more than $120 billion investment in regional Australia – the engine-room of our nation’s economy – to ensure a sustainable, prosperous and secure future for people living in the regions.
“By contrast, Labor has no plan or vision for regional centres like Mildura. Labor Leader Anthony Albanese can barely bring himself to mention the word ‘region’.”
The Nationals Member for Mallee, Dr Anne Webster welcomed the announcement for the region and said the project champions world class research being undertaken in the Mallee electorate.
“The Regional Research Collaboration program supports the Liberal and Nationals Government’s agenda to strengthen tertiary education in regional and remote Australia and works to align the research conducted at Australian universities with our National Manufacturing Priorities,” Dr Webster said.
“A strong Liberal National Government can ensure the delivery of more projects that grow our regional communities, while Labor continues to neglect and ignore regional Australians.”
The Regional Research Collaboration program was announced as part of the Job-ready Graduates program and addresses a key recommendation from the Napthine Review to grow the tertiary education sector in regional Australia.
Only the Morrison Joyce Government will continue to deliver a better future for Victoria, and this is part of our plan to build a strong economy and a stronger future.
More information is available at https://www.dese.gov.au/regional-research-collaboration-program