Agriculture Minister Kim Chance has responded to Greenough MLA Grant Woodhams’ suggestion to create a salinity directorate to co-ordinate salinity research in Western Australia by advising there is already a co-ordinated research program in place.
“While I appreciate Mr Woodhams’ proposal, the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is already carrying out that task - it is established, is well resourced and the participating organisations have demonstrated their commitment to it by allocating cash and in-kind support,” Mr Chance said.
“The Cooperative Research Centre for plant-based management of dryland salinity directs and co-ordinates salinity research across Australia, with a major proportion of that research being done in WA.”
The CRC has headquarters at the University of WA and core participants in WA are the Department of Agriculture, Department of Conservation and Land Management, University of WA and CSIRO. Other participants are the New South Wales Agriculture Department, Primary Industries South Australia, Department of Natural Resources and Environment Victoria, Adelaide University, Charles Sturt University and the Murray-Darling Basin Commission.
Industry research funds, such as Meat and Livestock Australia, Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) and Australian Wool Innovation, support the CRC. Landmark provides a commercial avenue for dissemination of CRC findings.
A major program of the CRC is aimed at developing and integrating perennial plants into the farming systems to both reduce recharge and obtain production from salt-affected land. A team from the CSIRO and the WA Dept of Agriculture is conducting research to determine the most appropriate strategies for animals to profitably integrate into the perennial plant farming systems.
The CRC covers water management issues associated with waterlogging through its support, in conjunction with GRDC and the WA Department of Agriculture, of raised bed farming - a technique already adopted over thousands of hectares of low-lying land in WA.
“While most of the CRC research is biophysical, it recognises the importance of the social aspects of salinity and the need to change land use,” Mr Chance said.
“The Gallop Government is protecting and enhancing Western Australia’s unique environment.”
All the CRC research activities are subject to review and assessment of their potential economic benefit to the farming communities across the nation.
Minister's office: 9213 6700