Legislative Council: Thursday, December 01, 2022


Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:08): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister please inform the chamber about the Marine Bioproducts CRC launch last night, the benefits of their work, and the value of having them based in South Australia?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:08): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in some of the outstanding opportunities we have for our state.

I was very pleased to attend the launch of the Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre (MBCRC) yesterday and meet the key people behind the important work they have recently started. The Australian government's CRC program supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community, focusing on developments that will have commercial uses.

The establishment of the MBCRC, based at Flinders University in the Tonsley Innovation District, is an exciting opportunity for South Australia. It is Australia's largest R&D hub dedicated to producing new and sustainable products from our marine environment. I am told that the industry has the potential to generate $8.6 billion for the Australian economy and create more than 26,000 new jobs by 2035, developing new and exciting marine bioproducts than can protect and enhance both our health and the environment.

It is something of a coup for Adelaide and a real credit to the team behind the early stages of the process behind forming this CRC that we are now able to have this high-level expertise based here in our state, giving us the opportunity to hopefully have the lion's share when it comes to future opportunities in emerging marine bioproducts industries and the investment that comes with it.

Indeed, the increased investment in relation to marine bioproducts has the potential to further enhance our state's already impressive green and renewable credentials. It's not hard to see why South Australia is such a focus in this space. For example, South Australia has more than 1,400 species of seaweed and up to 60 per cent of these are only found in our waters. This represents a startling 15 per cent of the world's recorded diversity for red and brown seaweeds.

High-value marine bioproducts such as nutraceuticals, omega-3 oils, cosmetics, plant-based proteins, agrochemicals and feed supplements, biopolymer and bioplastics all serve a global market that could be worth up to $780 billion by 2035. I am excited by the fact that our regions, and particularly our coastal regions, could have an opportunity to be a significant part in the research, development and production of these projects and these products.

The MBCRC has partnered with a large cross-section of stakeholders, which proudly includes PIRSA, SARDI and Flinders University but also includes a range of other state and federal agencies, researchers and companies such as CH4, who have significantly invested in our state already and have ambitious plans for the use of seaweed in ruminant feed supplements that can drastically reduce methane output, having a positive impact on climate change and helping to make our agricultural industry even more environmentally friendly. I imagine that this is just a glimpse into the kinds of things that we may see come out of this CRC.

As they have just completed their first year, I look forward to seeing what incredible outcomes their research leads to over the next nine years of their 10-year project and the potentially huge benefits that it will bring to our state.