A PARTNERSHIP led by the University of Melbourne has launched the One Basin Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), a new organisation which will work to achieve a more productive, resilient and sustainable Murray-Darling Basin.
The $156.5-million centre was created thanks to a $50M grant through the Commonwealth Cooperative Research Centres Program, alongside funding from 85 research and industry partners.
It is envisioned that the One Basin CRC will create and assess new sustainable water and agricultural technologies and drive their adoption by water managers and farmers to increase agricultural production while ensuring environmental resilience and sustainability.
The initiative aims to secure the future of Australia’s irrigation regions through the successful development, commercialisation and adoption of new business models and technologies that will respond to challenging climate events and foster effective environmental stewardship.
University of Melbourne’s Mike Stewardson is leading the One Basin CRC as interim CEO.
He said the centre is shaped by industry and will pave the way to transform irrigation regions across Australia and internationally.
“By 2037, an estimated $4.3 billion of economic impact will be generated by innovation in water, agriculture and energy technology, enhanced forecasting and decision-making capacity, with a focus on sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change,” Professor Stewardson said.
“Australia’s irrigation regions are the powerhouse of Australia’s agricultural sector, producing 50 per cent of Australia’s agricultural profits, with the Murray-Darling Basin being the focus of two-thirds of that irrigated agriculture.”
Over its 10-year term, One Basin CRC’s activities will be concentrated across four regional Basin hubs located at Loxton, Mildura, Griffith and Goondiwindi.
One Basin CRC’s Mallee Regional Hub leader, Rebecca Wells, said regionally-based research and development will support innovation and adaptation by farmers and communities, resulting in more resilient farms and diversified income streams.
She said research in the regions enables meaningful collaboration and engagement with partners.
“This ensures research is fit for purpose and directly relevant to the region – that will drive greater uptake and adoption, which is essential to achieve the innovation we require for growth in both productivity and sustainability,” Ms Wells said.
Loxton Hub interim leader Kym Walton said the regional hubs, like the one she is heading, located at the Loxton Research Centre in South Australia, will be critical for identifying and realising future opportunities for the Basin.
“The Lower Basin Hub will build on existing collaborations in the region to work on local priorities that inform outcomes for the entire basin,” Ms Walton said.
“The hubs will be the focal point for place-based research and the demonstration of new technologies and education and training activities, all of which will provide the knowledge and skills to support the prosperity of local communities into the future.”
Source: University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide