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Interim Chair appointed to Developing Northern Australia CRC

11 November 2015

Joint media release from the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

The Australian Government progressed the agenda for developing the north today, appointing Richmond Shire Mayor, Mr John Wharton AM, as the interim Chair for the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Developing Northern Australia.

Congratulating Mr Wharton on his appointment, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne said establishing the new CRC was a key element of the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.

“The Australian Government is investing $75 million in this industry-led CRC to assist businesses, governments and researchers to work together to identify opportunities for business and growth in the north,” Mr Pyne said.

“Mr Wharton is well placed to lead the establishment of this CRC. He brings to the role extensive experience in regional development and primary production, and he has strong links to the north as a long serving local government member.”

Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg said the CRC would be located in northern Australia and focus initially on areas where the north has particular strength, for instance in agriculture or tropical health.

“The north has particular strengths in areas such as agriculture and tropical health, among others. With Asia's burgeoning middle class on its doorstep, significant opportunities exist to commercialise research and development and establish new industries in these fields,” Frydenberg said.

As the interim Chair, Mr Wharton will consult extensively with stakeholders to set the direction and research agenda for the CRC, which is expected to commence in early 2016.

The CRC will build on existing research, expertise and networks to quickly identify areas where collaborative research can deliver real-world outcomes of benefit to industries in northern Australia.

The CRC will form a consortium of partners, drawing from northern industry, the research community, government jurisdictions and international organisations.

The CRC will also work closely with the Industry Growth Centres, sharing knowledge, experience and resources to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of northern Australia’s industries.

Mr Pyne’s Media: 02 6277 7070, pynemedia@education.gov.au
Mr Frydenberg’s Media: 02 6277 7180
Department media: media@industry.gov.au