Grains Research and Development

Corporate Governance

The GRDC monitors and measures performance to continually improve its effectiveness and efficiency. The Board, Management and all staff are set performance objectives each year. Performance against these objectives is reviewed regularly.The GRDC recognises the value of strong corporate governance. In seeking to continuously improve its performance, the GRDC periodically assesses its overall approach and ongoing development against the Australian National Audit Office Guidelines for Best Practice Corporate Governance.

As a statutory corporation, the GRDC must meet certain corporate planning and reporting requirements. Through its Board, the GRDC is accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

An outline of the GRDC’s corporate governance framework, including the GRDC’s planning and reporting approach, is provided below.

Elements of the GRDC’s corporate governance framework

Element Description

Through its Board, the GRDC is accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Minister for Agriculture. The GRDC formally reports to grain growers through their representative organisation, Grain Producers Australia.

The GRDC also communicates with stakeholders through a range of channels, including:

  • regular meetings with and reports to the Department of Agriculture
  • publications and online content
  • consultation with grower groups, agribusiness and R&D partners
  • grower surveys
  • conferences, workshops, grower updates and similar activities.
Audit Processes Independent internal and external audits are applied to the GRDC’s financial, risk, fraud and RD&E management.
Enabling Legislation

The Primary IndustriesResearch and Development Act 1989 (PIRD Act) sets out the legislative framework and rules for the establishment and operation of the GRDC.

Environmental Management

The GRDC reports annually on its performance in relation to ecologically sustainable development and other matters outlined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

At the strategic level the GRDC Strategic Research and Development Plan 2012-17 articulates the GRDC’s vision for an Australian grains industry that is both profitable and environmentally sustainable. 

The principles of ecologically sustainable development have been incorporated into the decision-making systems and processes of the GRDC, as required under the EPBC Act. The corporation has in place paper-recycling arrangements and where operationally viable, purchases energy-efficient equipment. Energy-efficient practices are encouraged within the corporations premises, to reduce energy consumption wherever possible.

Financial Control The GRDC maintains accounts and records of transactions and affairs in accordance with accepted accounting principles generally applied in commercial practice and with legislative requirements.
Fraud and Risk Management

The GRDC’s fraud and risk management framework includes processes for project, program and portfolio level risk management, general compliance and operational risk management, financial risk management, and prudential guidelines for business ventures.

The GRDC prepares a six-monthly Business Environment Report to the Board. This report is used to update the GRDC’s situation analysis and identify developing risks. The Senior Leadership Group, in consultation with managers, updates the Risk Assessment Register and the Fraud Control Action Plan each quarter. The Finance, Risk and Audit Committee reviews these documents at each meeting and reports to the Board.

Freedom of Information and Privacy

The GRDC complies with the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988.

Enquiries about access to documents and other matters relating to freedom of information should be directed during normal working hours to:

Freedom of Information Officer/Compliance Officer 
Grains Research and Development Corporation 
PO Box 5367 

Telephone: 02 6166 4500
Facsimile: 02 6166 4599

Funding Agreement In accordance with section 33 of the PIRD Act GRDC has entered into a Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia for the period 1 June 2015 – 31 May 2019. The Funding Agreement (PDF 1MB) specifies the terms and conditions on which money paid to GRDC by the Commonwealth will be spent.
Governance Legislation

As well as its responsibilities under the PIERD Act, the corporation has accountability and reporting obligations set out in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).


The GRDC operates under the direction of a Board, which is responsible for developing the Corporation’s policies and governing its operation and performance.

The Managing Director leads the GRDC’s senior leadership group and is accountable to the Board for day-to-day management of operations. The Board has three sub-committees – a Finance, Risk and Audit Committee (FR&A), a Remuneration Committee, and a Commercialisation Committee.

The key Board functions are:

  • adopting a Five Year Plan framework, Annual Operating Plan, and producing an Annual Report
  • overseeing corporate governance and investment decisions.

The GRDC uses the Australian National Audit Office Guidelines for Best Practice Corporate Governance to assess the status of the overall approach and ongoing development.

Monitoring Performance

The GRDC monitors and measures performance to continually improve its effectiveness and efficiency. The Board, Management and all staff are set performance objectives each year. Performance against these objectives is reviewed regularly.

Planning and Reporting

The elements of the GRDC’s corporate planning and reporting approach include:

  • Strategic R&D Plan — sets out the GRDC’s high-level goals, strategies and performance measures for a five-year period, developed in consultation with stakeholders and approved by the Minister.
  • Investment Plan — informs potential research partners about some of the GRDC’s new investment priorities for the next financial year and invites interested parties to submit research proposals.
  • Annual Operational Plan — specifies the annual budget, resources and research priorities that give effect to the GRDC's five year R&D plan during a given financial year. They must be provided to the responsible Minister and the grain’s industry’s representative organisation, Grain Producers Australia (GPA).
  • Portfolio Budget Statement — as part of the Australian Government budget process, summarises the planned outputs, outcomes, performance information and financial statements for a given financial year. They are consistent with the five year R&D plan and AOPs and are tabled in Parliament. 
  • Annual Report — provides information on GRDC activities and their performance in relation to the goals set in the annual operational plan and portfolio budget statement for a given financial year. They must be approved by the responsible Minister and tabled in Parliament. The Chair also reports on the Corporation’s activities to GPA at its annual meeting.
  • Growers’ Report — provides performance information to growers on R&D activities for a given financial year.
  • Stakeholder Report — meets legislative requirements for reporting to the grains industry’s representative organisation, Grains Producers Australia.
Policies and Procedures

The GRDC Operating Manual, which is available to the Board and all staff members, describes the corporation's:

  • policies and procedures
  • roles and responsibilities (including those of the Board and Board committees)
  • Code of Conduct
  • Delegations and authorisations schedule
  • general guidelines.
Reporting to Stakeholders

The GRDC reports regularly to stakeholders, including through formal reporting to Grains Producers Australia and GrainGrowers; with regular meetings and reports to the Minister of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture; publication of annual reports, R&D newsletters and stakeholder reports; and participation in conferences, workshops, grower updates and other activities