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The corporation

FRDC is a statutory corporation within the Australian Government’s agriculture portfolio and is accountable to the Parliament of Australia through the Minister for Agriculture. Revenue for RD&E investment is based on a co-funding model between the Australian Government and the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries.

The Corporation was formed on 2 July 1991 and operates under two key pieces of legislation the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989 (PIRD Act) and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

2030 vision

The FRDC will invest to pursue the shared vision of Australia’s fishing and aquaculture sectors of building collaborative, vibrant fishing and aquaculture, creating diverse benefits from aquatic resources, and celebrated by the community.

FRDC outcome

Increased economic, social and environmental benefits for Australian fishing and aquaculture, and the wider community, by investing in knowledge, innovation and marketing.

FRDC mission

The FRDC’s mission is to act as a national thought leader, facilitating knowledge creation, collaboration and innovation to shape the future of fishing and aquaculture in Australia, for the benefit of the Australian people.

FRDC role

To plan, invest in and manage research and development for fishing and aquaculture, and the wider community, and ensure that the resulting knowledge and innovation is adopted for impact.


Progress against the annual operational plan (AOP) and RD&E Plan 2015–20 are measured against a performance management framework that sets out how progress will be evaluated using metrics that are appropriate, timely and provide an accurate picture of the impact of the FRDC’s investment. The framework aligns reporting and evaluation with the FRDC’s statutory obligations.

Responsible ministers

The portfolio Minister for Agriculture is the Hon. David Littleproud MP and the Assistant Minister is Senator the Hon. Jonathon Duniam (Fisheries, Forestry and Regional Tourism).


The FRDC works with a diverse and geographically dispersed collective of stakeholders that share a connection and interest in fishing and aquaculture.

Representative organisations

The FRDC has four ministerially declared representative organisations.

  • Australian Recreational and Sport Fishing Industry Confederation Inc., trading as Recfish Australia (representing recreational and sport fishers),
  • Commonwealth Fisheries Association (representing commercial fishers operating in Commonwealth waters),
  • National Aquaculture Council (representing the aquaculture industry),
  • Seafood Industry Australia (representing the seafood industry).

The FRDC also involves the Indigenous Reference Group and the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation in all representational organisation activities.

More broadly the FRDC works with members of commercial wild-catch, aquaculture, recreational, Indigenous and post-harvest sectors, fisheries managers, researchers, non-government organisations and the Australian community.

FRDC Funding Agreement

Australia’s rural RDCs are the mechanism by which primary producers and the government co-invest in RD&E for industry and community benefits. This partnership between industry and government is reflected in joint funding and in input to RDC priorities and planning processes.

The Australian Government has previously entered into agreements with the RDCs which are industry- owned companies as a means to define and govern aspects of their relationship. The Parliament of Australia has legislated to require similar negotiated agreements between the Australian Government and the statutory RDCs.

The Funding Agreement established under the PIRD Act requires establishment of necessary accounting systems, procedures and controls in accordance with the PGPA Act and the Funding Agreement, including a cost allocation policy. The FRDC’s Cost Allocation Policy sets how to allocate direct and indirect costs across the FRDC’s research and development and marketing programs. The Policy is available from the website — www.frdc.com.au.

Review of the performance of all RDCs is important to ensure accountability and help foster a culture of continuous improvement. The agreement between the government and the FRDC establishes a framework for periodic, independent reviews.

Investment strategy—a balanced research investment approach

The FRDC aims to spread its investment in RD&E across the whole value chain of the commercial fishing and aquaculture industry, and for the benefit of both Indigenous and recreational fishers.

The FRDC will, in line with its RD&E Plan 2015–20, and Statutory Funding agreement invest in:

  • a balanced portfolio of projects (type, length and risk),
  • outputs (project milestone and report),
  • three priority areas and five programs (Environment, Industry, Communities, People and Adoption),
  • outcomes (benefit cost analysis).

All R&D or RD&E plans (FRDC, sector and jurisdictional) need to demonstrate how they achieve a balanced portfolio of investment. RD&E investments are regularly assessed to ensure the FRDC maintains a balanced portfolio that meets the needs of its stakeholders, including the Australian Government and the Australian community.

The portfolio is monitored through the FRDC’s project management system which is based on the key metrics above to inform future investment decisions and ensure a balance is maintained. The FRDC ensures funding applications are developed and reviewed by the RACs in line with broader portfolio requirements. A breakdown of investment for the past year can be seen on pages i–iv.

The FRDC seeks to achieve maximum leverage from its investments by providing research administration and services using a value-adding model. Research projects have input provided by the FRDC during their development and assessment phase in order to decide on a specific outcome which is then actively managed and monitored.

Cost allocation policy

The board, as the accountable authority, is required by the PGPA Act to establish and maintain systems of risk and control to create an operating environment that promotes the proper use and management of public resources, in pursuit of both the public good and the purposes of the entity for which it is responsible.