CRC Association early response to the CRC Programme Review

The CRC Association represents all CRCs and a number of other members of the Australian research and development community. Individual members will form their own views on the merits of David Miles’ review, Growth through Innovation and Collaboration.

On initial scanning, the CRC Association is generally very pleased with Mr Miles’ review and recommendations. We have two areas of concern.

Firstly, a major concern we have is around the definition of industry and the possible exclusion of so-called “public good” CRCs. We agree with Mr Miles’ concerns that “public good” is a difficult and misunderstood term. We prefer to use a term like “national benefit” to describe some CRCs where the ultimate goals are not necessarily commercial goods or services.

Many CRCs aim to provide significant and focussed “national benefit” without aiming for commercial goods or services. For example, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC produces highly packaged and sought-after information on each fire season. The CRC Association would deem it a poor outcome if CRCs such as this were excluded from the bidding process.

Our second concern is the limitation of a CRC’s life to 10 years. We disagreed with the limitation to 15 years arising from the last review and have often drawn the metaphor with sport – it is like telling Dawn Fraser she can’t compete in a third Olympics simply on the basis of age. We believe merit should be the ultimate factor and the proper authority to judge that merit is the new Advisory Committee.

Mr Miles and the review team in the Department of Industry and Science deserve our gratitude for undertaking this massive task. The CRC Association believes they have done so with an open mind and much goodwill. We note that 251 submissions were received, indicating a very high level of interest (and in a very short comment period). We thank all those that made submissions and look forward to a rejuvenated and renewed CRC Programme in the future.

Media comment

Dr. Tony Peacock, CEO, CRC Association

0402 036 110

Read the CRC Association’s responses to the recommendations.