Legislative Council: Thursday, March 23, 2023


Crawford Fund Forum

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (15:11): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the Crawford Fund forum at the Plant Research Centre, Waite Campus, last week?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:11): I thank the member for his interest in this important forum. Last week, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the South Australian committee of the Crawford Fund forum, which focused on the topic of Agriculture in the Asia-Pacific Region: Challenges, Opportunities and Achievements.

For honourable members who may not be aware, the Crawford Fund is a not-for-profit charity that promotes and supports international research and development activities in which Australian research organisations and companies are involved as active participants. Through training and mentoring programs, the fund builds capacity with practical and focused training across a variety of topics in the agricultural, research and management space, both in Australia and across the developing world.

The fund also focuses on encouraging and supporting young Australians in their careers, studies and volunteering in the agriculture sector. The South Australian committee for the Crawford Fund was established in 2000 and provides opportunities for scientists from developing countries to receive training in areas aligned to research capability within our state. Indeed, the work of the Crawford Fund SA committee also includes developing capability in young South Australian scientists and researchers to build international linkages so they can return to South Australian based institutions with an understanding of global issues for agricultural research.

The annual Crawford forum is held at Parliament House, Canberra, and the South Australian committee sponsors young South Australian based scientists to attend. I am advised that this has included several PIRSA officers who have participated in the annual forum; most recently, for 2022-23, an officer from Biosecurity SA and another from SARDI, who have been awarded travel scholarships.

The Crawford Fund is named for John Crawford, whose legacy includes the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. He was the founding director of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and an esteemed agricultural economist and public servant. John Crawford saw the importance of agricultural research and of building relations within our region. In the present day, the Crawford Fund is a vital link between Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Through this important work, collaboration and training we can achieve more productive and sustainable agriculture while lowering the rate of poverty and hunger across our region.

The state government, through PIRSA, supports the Crawford Fund in its ambition to grow our region's research and development capabilities, acknowledging that it remains paramount for food security and biosecurity within our region that other nations can also build their capabilities. The challenges faced by our producers here in South Australia are of course exacerbated in countries that don't have access to the latest technologies, veterinarian services or agronomists. For this reason, these challenges that we recognise as a research state, South Australia can support our region by sharing knowledge and ensuring the longevity of agricultural industries.

I would like to acknowledge the Hon. Reverend Dr Lynn Arnold, Chair of the SA committee and of course former Premier of this state, as well as committee members, and Roger Wickes, program coordinator for South Australia, and Colin Chartres, chief executive officer, for their ongoing commitment in this important field of work and research.