Call for web-based GRDC

Jo FulwoodThe West Australian
Paul McKenzie
Camera IconPaul McKenzie Credit: The West Australian

Outspoken GRDC critic and iCrop Australia founder Paul McKenzie has called for a web-based platform to allow growers to set the organisation's spending criteria every five years.

Mr McKenzie believes growers should have an input into where their funds were allocated.

He said growers should have the right to direct their funding to programs they believed provided the best return on their investment.

"The proposal for a web-based farmer allocation of the levy every five-year period doesn't prevent anyone allocating their levies to Canberra should they wish," Mr McKenzie said.

"However, if they wish to allocate levies or a proportion of their levies to their local farmer group to conduct specific research, they can, so all of those things would be possible. It's their money."

But GRDC chairman Richard Clark said growers were already identifying their research priorities through Western Panel representatives and the Region- al Cropping Solutions networks.

"These people are identifying the priorities and making investment decisions all the time," he said.

"At the end of the day, growers do decide where their levies go through the tiered system that GRDC uses to connect with growers."

Mr Clark said any web-based grower platform allowing growers to allocate their levies was "illogical".

"If a grower decided to fully fund his local farm improvement group, who gets to use this research information, and should those same growers be allowed to access national or other research information," he said.

Mr McKenzie backed a call for an independent review of the statutory authority, saying it was unacceptable for former GRDC chairman Terry Enright to preside over a governance review.

"Clearly it is entirely inappropriate that a previous chair is responsible for chairing a review into that organisation," he said.

Mr Clark said Mr Enright had only chaired the committee that had selected the review consultants.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails