New ‘shark tank’ funding approach to tackle ag health/safety

Grain Central, January 18, 2019

A NEW partnership of rural research and development corporations (RDCs), called the Rural Safety and Health Alliance, will invest in finding solutions to reduce work, health and safety risks in the agricultural sector.

Key features of the alliance include setting clear priorities to better target research, development and extension; strengthening industry leadership and developing a ‘shark tank’ funding model, where applicants work together to pitch projects for funding.

Rural Safety and Health Alliance chair Patrick Murphy said there was an urgent need to change the current approach to bring about change in the industry’s health and safety record.

“Health and safety performance has hardly changed in the past 15 years and the direct and indirect financial impact of agricultural workplace deaths is estimated to be $1.5 billion over this period,” Mr Murphy said.

“There is an enormous social, emotional and economic toll to workplace death and injury so the alliance is focused on giving farmers and fishers the tools to create safer working environments for themselves, their workers and their families.

“Not only will we be saving lives but it has been demonstrated in other sectors that improvements to health and safety also bring productivity and financial benefits so there is much to gain by tackling this issue directly.”

Mr Murphy says the alliance will generate new levels of collaboration and best target resources to address what ‘good’ health and safety looks like in theory and in practice.

“Through this partnership, the RDCs are leading in this area and we will be seeking to leverage their funding and leadership to gain support from public and private organisations. From start-ups through to experienced extension providers, we are wanting new, innovative and creative ways to develop practical solutions and eliminate duplication,” he said.

“The difference between the alliance and earlier efforts is the research-focused agenda and its competitive funding model which will generate accountability to ensure RD&E investments deliver a return on value and translate into practical improvements for producers.”

The Rural Safety and Health Alliance is seeking registrations of interest from groups or individuals who want to be kept updated as the alliance is formed, such as from research and extension professionals, industry associations, producers, agricultural workers, government and advocacy groups.

To register, or for more information on the alliance, visit www.rsha.com.au

The Rural Safety and Health Alliance is supported jointly by AgriFutures Australia, Australian Eggs, Australian Pork, Australian Wool Innovation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Dairy Australia, Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, Grains Research & Development Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia.

It is supported by AgriFutures Australia on behalf of the RDC partners. It replaces the former Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership, which was wound-up in 2017.

Source: Rural Safety and Health Alliance


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  1. Caroline Graham, February 18, 2020

    Congratulations, this approach will definitely improve grass roots knowledge, recognition of risks & will support the integration of WHS into our daily work routines. Can you please advise when funding applications/rounds are open

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