Compendium of Priorities and Initiatives (Continued)
Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics
The Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics uses key genomic technologies to develop techniques for improving the resistance of wheat and barley to hostile environmental conditions such as drought, salinity and mineral deficiencies. It also evaluates the commercial potential for products and services resulting from the research. The total Australian Government funding commitment to the ACPFG from 2001 to 2012 is approximately $41.1 million.
Cooperative Research Centres Program
The objective of the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program is to deliver significant economic, environmental and social benefits to Australia by supporting partnerships between researchers and end-users. In 2010‑11, the Australian Government has allocated $172.7 million for the program. There are currently 42 CRCs operating across the agricultural, mining, manufacturing and services sectors. The objective of the CRC Program is to find solutions to Australia's major challenges and create vital new products, services and processes. CRCs are required to have an end-user focused education and training program and small or medium enterprise strategies that build innovation and research and development capacity. CRCs are also required to have utilisation activities to deploy research outputs and encourage take up by end-users. Many CRCs contribute to strengthening rural and regional development.
Dispute Resolution Services for Trade Practices Act Codes Affecting Small Business in Rural and Regional Australia
Enhanced, early intervention dispute resolution services under the Horticulture Code of Conduct, the Franchising Code of Conduct and the Oilcode will provide small business in these sectors with access to low-cost, informal dispute resolution services and may reduce the need for small businesses to resort to more formal mediation or litigation. The service is likely to have a positive impact in supporting businesses located in rural and regional Australia.
Enterprise Connect is a $50 million a year Australian Government initiative that provides support to eligible Australian small and medium sized enterprises to help them become more innovative, productive and globally competitive through a network of twelve centres located around Australia. Enterprise Connect assists rural and regional businesses, in particular, through its Innovative Regions Centre in a number of regions around Australia; and through the Remote Enterprise Centre, based in Alice Springs.
National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training
The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training has been established to undertake scientific research in all aspects of groundwater. It will provide high quality training for postgraduate and postdoctoral students and for professional hydrogeologists, groundwater engineers and groundwater managers.
North West and Northern Tasmanian Innovation and Investment Fund
The North West and Northern Tasmanian Innovation and Investment Fund (NWNTIIF) will provide competitive, merit based grants to local businesses and groups for new employment creation in the North West and northern region of Tasmania. The NWNTIIF's purpose will be to support innovative job creation projects that strengthen the regional economy and employment base. The Fund has $17 million made up of $12.5 million from the Australian Government and $4.5 million from the Tasmanian Government.
Regional Managers Network
The AusIndustry Regional Managers Network has officers located in 15 regional centres to improve access to information and programs directly benefiting regional businesses.
Small Business Support Line
The Small Business Support Line (SBSL) provides initial information and referral services to small business owners on matters such as obtaining finance, cash flow management, retail leasing, diagnostic services, promotion and marketing advice, and personal stress/hardship counselling. Support Line agents link into the myriad of support provided by the Australian and state governments and other government supported services such as the nationwide network of Business Enterprise Centres (BECs) and other small business advisory services around Australia.
Small Business Online
The Small Business Online program provides support through service providers to help small businesses go online by offering training seminars and mentoring assistance on e-business, advice on establishing an online presence and the development of other e-business resources to help reduce their costs and improve their market opportunities. Forty-two grants have been made to businesses providing services to regional Australia.
Small Business Advisory Services
The Small Business Advisory Services program aims to maximise the growth potential, prosperity and sustainability of small businesses. It provides enhanced access to information and advice on issues important to sustaining and/or growing small business in response to the global financial crisis. There are 36 Business Enterprise Centres across Australia funded under this program to assist small businesses. Seventeen of these are located in regional Australia.
Super Science Initiatives
In its 2009‑10 Budget, the Australian Government made targeted investments totalling $1.1 billion over five years to support the following three fields of scientific research: space and astronomy; marine and climate; and future industries.
This investment is limiting the impact of the global financial crisis by providing funds for critical infrastructure needs across Australia, including rural and regional centres. These major infrastructure developments will create highly skilled jobs and provide important research capabilities and information gathering on natural resource management, forestry and agriculture to benefit rural and regional Australia.
Further information about innovation, industry, science and research initiatives relating to rural and regional Australia is available at www.innovation.gov.au.
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