The Australian Government is a key stakeholder. It provides the legislative framework under which AgriFutures Australia operates, a core appropriation through the Department of Agriculture and matching Commonwealth funds to those AgriFutures Australia industries with a statutory levy.
In addition to the specific linkages of Board appointments and corporate documentation such as the Corporate Plan, the Annual Operational Plan and this Annual Report, AgriFutures Australia also writes to the responsible Minister outlining the key outcomes of Board meetings.
Under Section 143 of the PIRD Act, the Minister may give written directions to AgriFutures Australia as to the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers. No such directions were given in 2019-20.
Under Section 22 of the PGPA Act, the Minister may give written directions to AgriFutures Australia regarding complying with the general policies of the Government. No such directions were given in 2019-20.
No judicial decisions were recorded for 2019-20.
On 18 and 19 February 2020, AgriFutures Australia hosted evokeAG., the Asia Pacific region’s largest agrifood tech event at the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne.
On 11 September 2019, AgriFutures Australia hosted the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala at Parliament House, Canberra.
On 10 June 2020, AgriFutures Australia hosted the Levied Industries “Virtual” Forum, a great success in the COVID-19 era of video communication with stakeholders.
Compliance with general policies of government
AgriFutures Australia is not required to comply with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules 2014. However, the AgriFutures Australia Procurement Policy aligns with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines where practicable.
Compliance with legislative requirements
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
AgriFutures Australia has no instance of non-compliance with the Public Governance, performance and Accountability Act 2013 for the period 2019-20.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Part 14, Schedule 2, Part 4 Other Persons
Table 11 summarises the requirements under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the AgriFutures Australia’s related actions.
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
AgriFutures Australia is required to report against two criteria. The first is how AgriFutures Australia’s activities accord with and contribute to ecologically sustainable development (see Table 12). The second is to report on AgriFutures Australia’s environmental performance, and measures being taken to mitigate the impact activities have on the natural environment.
AgriFutures Australia actions under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
AgriFutures Australia Action
Details of work health and safety arrangements
AgriFutures Australia’s Work Health and Safety Policy was updated to meet the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Staff were consulted and the Policy was circulated and published on the intranet
Related policies were also reviewed and updated.
Initiatives undertaken during the year to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees and contractors
Work health and safety is a standing item on the meeting agendas of the Workplace Consultative Committee (WCC), staff meetings, executive meetings, and Audit Committee and Board meetings
Policy awareness sessions were conducted on all reviewed and updated work health and safety policies
Managers were briefed on their roles and responsibilities under the legislation
New staff undertook workplace assessments to ensure that any reasonable workplace adjustments were made (ergonomic equipment, furniture, etc. was provided as required)
The annual influenza vaccination program was offered to all staff during 2019-20, and occurs each year
First aid officers and have been appointed and are appropriately trained
Work health and safety information is displayed prominently in the workplace.
Health and safety outcomes (including the impact on injury rates of employees and contractors achieved as a result of initiatives mentioned above)
Health and safety outcomes remain comparable to previous years.
Statistics of any accidents or dangerous occurrences during the year arising out of conduct or undertakings by AgriFutures Australia that required the giving of notice
Details of any investigations conducted during the year that relate to undertakings carried on by the employer, including details of all notices given to the employee
The effect of AgriFutures Australia’s actions on the environment
The AgriFutures Rice Program continues to fund the Rice Breeding project that has a goal to develop rice varieties with enhanced adaptation, e.g. improved cold tolerance, salinity tolerance, drought tolerance and water productivity, to cope with an evolving production environment
Further advancement towards the development of cold- tolerant rice varieties has continued and new research into heat tolerance for adaption to northern Australia opens opportunity to grow rice under a variety of climatic zones.
Improved temperature tolerance, remote crop sensing and precision farming will lead to greater potential for reducing irrigated water use, managing seasonal variation and crop inputs.
National environmental guidelines for chicken meat farms
Development of nationally consistent guidelines for planning and development of chicken meat farms. National guidelines for modelling odour and dust impacts will be incorporated into a framework for environmental management of meat chicken farms.
Industry best practice for litter
Research into litter management, litter re-use, risk assessment of alternative litter sources, odour emissions and in-shed air quality together with a review of current and potential barriers to reuse of chicken litter will be compiled into a best practice manual for chicken meat growers.
The impact of nutritional strategies, such as reduced crude protein diets, on litter quality highlights the interaction between nutrition and the environment and the need to take a whole system approach to chicken meat production.
Industry best practice for water quality management and sterilisation
A review of water sanitisation treatments, water treatment additives and on-farm water distribution system quality management practices has been documented into a manual for industry.
Environmental credentials of chicken meat production
Quantification of environmental impacts from chicken meat production will provide a current industry benchmark and demonstrate changes that have occurred over the past 10 years. This research will provide carbon mitigation options for the industry and a pathway for development of carbon neutral products.
Optimising free range conditions
Development of resilient plants, that persist on the range and provide adequate shelter for free range birds to optimise ranging behaviour and enhance both welfare and production.
Soil erosion and compaction impacts of subterranean clover harvesting
Research has been initiated into developing new and novel methods of subterranean clover harvesting to address impacts around soil erosion associated with the current method of vacuum harvesting machinery, and soil compaction associated with paddock preparation prior to harvesting. This research will result in machinery modifications that will reduce soil erosion and soil compaction as a result of harvesting.
Tea Tree Oil
Integrated Weed management
Increased effectiveness of herbicide use and greater uptake of non-chemical control methods, including less risk of off-target pollution (e.g. water ways), and lower negative impacts on beneficial organisms which may contribute to pest and disease bio-control.
Improving ginger to future proof the industry against pest and disease
Introducing genetic diversity to the edible Australian ginger markets will help the industry cope with increasing pest and disease pressure, and changes to growing conditions, which will likely increase due to various forces including climate change. This study has set the groundwork needed to achieve the goal of increasing the genetic diversity, improving pest and disease resistance and reducing the impact of pests and diseases using biocontrols, for the Australian ginger industry.
Sustainable Use of Australia’s Biodiversity
Australian Native Oils develop a seed bank and herbarium reference collection for retention of key varieties of Australian essential oil bearing plants.
Accelerating Wattle Seed production for the Australian Native Food Industry.
Responding to climate change and Food Security
National Agronomy Sesame Trials.
Industrial Hemp, developing new efficient hemp varieties for Australia and alternate feed sources for drought.
Dates, understanding date pollination responses to the environment.
Better use of water
Hazelnuts, assessing different irrigation approaches.
Coffee, creating a plan for a compelling industry-wide environmental sustainability system.
Plantago, de-risking, commercial validation & value maximisation of Plantago in the Ord River Irrigation Area.
Lavender, developing new knowledge and agronomic practices to enable diversification and new knowledge for growers on the conditions to grow lavender.
Measures being taken to minimise the impact of actions by AgriFutures Australia on the environment
AgriFutures Australia continued initiatives to minimise the impact of its actions on the environment by:
Continued electronic distribution of Board and Audit Committee papers
Continued electronic distribution of Advisory Panel meeting papers
Availability of electronic versions of a majority of internal policies, forms and administrative documents
Encouraging teleconferencing whenever possible
Developing a risk assessment framework for project proposals to reduce the risk of funding plants and animals that may become invasive.
AgriFutures Australia continued to promote the use of print-on-demand services for its publications by:
Electronically distributing corporate documents to clients and stakeholders
Encouraging the use of electronic files in place of hardcopy items, e.g. the Annual Operational Plan and other corporate documents
Encouraging distribution of electronic research reports for stakeholders rather than printing hard
Mechanisms for reviewing and increasing the effectiveness of above measures
AgriFutures Australia closely monitored its paper usage and postage costs during the year to quantify the effectiveness of these measures
More generally, AgriFutures Australia has a regular program of evaluating the impact of its R&D
investments using a triple bottom line approach, assessing economic, environmental and social
The AgriFutures Australia project application process specifically requires an applicant to address the environmental implications of their project in addition to the economic and social impacts
Freedom of Information
The broad objective of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) is to give the Australian community access to information held by the Commonwealth Government.
Reforms to the FOI Act, which came into effect on 1 May 2011, are aimed at promoting a pro-disclosure culture across government and building a stronger foundation for greater openness and transparency in government operations. AgriFutures Australia is committed to a
proactive approach to publishing information that it holds for the benefit of the rural and rural research communities and the broader Australian public.
This information is accessible through AgriFutures Australia’s website at agrifutures.com.au.
AgriFutures Australia operates under the direction of a Board of Directors. Its headquarters are in Wagga Wagga, NSW and contact details are:
Freedom of information
Charles Sturt University
Wagga Wagga NSW 2650
c/o Charles Sturt University
Locked Bag 588
Wagga Wagga NSW 2678
How to make a request for access to documents under the FOI Act
Requests made under the FOI Act must:
Be in writing
State that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
Provide such information concerning the document that will allow AgriFutures Australia to identify it
Provide detail of how notices provided by AgriFutures Australia in relation to the FOI request can be sent to the applicant.
AgriFutures Australia documents
AgriFutures Australia publishes or holds corporate documents such as the Annual Report, Corporate Plan and Annual Operational Plan. These are free while stocks are available.
They are also available for free download from AgriFutures Australia’s website at agrifutures.com.au.
AgriFutures Australia’s extensive research library is available for viewing, free downloading or purchasing from its print-on-demand portal at
Purchases can also be made by phoning 1300 634 313 for the cost of a local call.
Formal requests for information under the FOI Act must be made in writing to: The FOI Coordinator AgriFutures Australia at the appropriate postal address.
In many cases, an application under the FOI Act may not be required as information or documents may be readily available. An up-to-date listing of projects funded by AgriFutures Australia is detailed on the AgriFutures Australia website. Funding information on individual
projects is available on request.
Processing of FOI requests
Upon receipt of a FOI request, AgriFutures Australia will provide an acknowledgement of receipt within 14 days. In accordance with the FOI Act, a decision must be notified to the FOI applicant within 30 days of receipt. However, as some documents may be subject to a third-party
consultation process, the FOI Act provides agencies with the right to extend the applicable timeframe by an additional 30 days. If consultation is required, applicants will be informed accordingly.
Fees and charges
FOI requests made to AgriFutures Australia on or after 1 November 2010 no longer require an application fee to be paid. However, the FOI Act provides that charges may be imposed for processing requests (except where applicants are seeking documents containing their own
personal information). Should the FOI request incur any charges, applicants will be provided with an estimate of the applicable charges. Requests will not proceed until applicants provide a response to the estimate. AgriFutures Australia may decide to remit, reduce or not impose
processing charges under certain circumstances.
Following receipt of the decision on access, applicants are entitled to seek an internal review of the decision by writing to the FOI Coordinator within 30 days of being notified of the decision.
Alternatively, applicants may write to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) seeking a review of AgriFutures Australia’s decision. This can be done as a result of either the initial decision or the internal review decision.
Subsequent review options after internal review and OAIC review are also available. The complete process for seeking a review on access is provided in the decision letter sent to
applicants at the completion of the request.
The FOI Coordinator can be contacted to discuss any prospective request to the organisation. Since 1 May 2011, agencies have been required to provide public access to documents released in accordance with the FOI Act.
Documents released under the FOI Act can be obtained by accessing AgriFutures Australia’s FOI Disclosure Log at agrifutures.com.au.
AgriFutures Australia’s FOI information can be found by
Information Publication Scheme
Agencies subject to the FOI Act are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme.