13 Feb 2009

Agriculture research fund formally dismantled

9:18 am on 13 February 2009

The Government has carried out its plan to ditch the $700 million Fast Forward Fund for research into pastoral agriculture and food industries set up by the previous Government.

It has compulsorily retired the board which had been employed to distribute the fund.

The fund was announced by the Labour-led Government last June, and aimed to have public funding matched by the private sector. However National said it was committed to dumping the fund and replacing it with direct grants.

Agricultural and Horticultural Science Institute president John Lancashire would like to see the private sector guarantee that it will provide similar levels of funding for any new initiative put forward by the Government.

Agriculture Minister David Carter says none of the industry members had yet contributed to the previous fund.

Mr Carter says there is industry support for the replacement scheme which he is planning.

He is aiming to secure more than $90 million in funding for research into pastoral agriculture, to be spent over three years.

Mr Carter says details will be given during the Budget announcements later this year.