GRDC Governance Review

In February 2014, the Grain Producers Association (GPA) and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) jointly announced the appointment of independent consultant Marsden Jacob Associates to undertake a structural review of the GRDC. The review was guided by a Steering Committee of grower representatives.

As industry input to this independent review was critical, Marsden Jacob prepared an Issues Paper to assist individuals and organisations to understand the key issues under consideration in the review and invited stakeholders to make submissions on both the Issues Paper and the Draft Report.

The Grains Industry has now received a final report from Marsden Jacob as part of the Independent Strategic Governance Review of the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

For more information, please visit the Marsden Jacob website or read the extract below.

Independent Strategic Governance Review recommends changes be made to the current model

On 31 July 2014, the final report of the Independent Strategic Governance Review of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) was released. The report can be found on the Marsden Jacob website.

Marsden Jacob’s review found that the “current status quo governance arrangements are not the preferred structural option for the GRDC. This review has identified two preferred structural governance options moving forward:

  • A hybrid model – that draws valuable components of an industry owned corporation into the current statutory corporation structure; or
  • An industry owned corporation.”

The GRDC is a respected organisation that is operating in an increasingly dynamic research, development and extension (RDE) environment with substantial domestic and international changes across the length of the grain industry supply chain. In order to deliver the best possible RDE outcomes for levy payers in this changing environment, the GRDC needs a governance structure and arrangements that sharpen its connection to growers and their needs; and helps it to rapidly seek out, decide on and seamlessly manoeuvre resources into RDE investments that will meet those needs in the short and long term (a balanced portfolio of RDE investment). To achieve this requires the removal of unnecessary red tape and constraints to accountability and decision making autonomy.

The majority of formal and informal submissions favoured, at a minimum, the progression of a hybrid governance model. The hybrid model was seen as a vehicle to increase organisational flexibility, better align the accountabilities and operations of the GRDC with the needs of levy paying growers, and help build an organisation that can effectively respond to the rapidly changing industry operating environment while still providing an appropriate level of accountability for public monies.

In the longer term, depending on an industry agreed RDE vision and strategy being developed and the Australian Government’s willingness to agree exemptions and delegate decision-making autonomy to the GRDC (under the hybrid model), Marsden Jacob believe a change to an industry owned corporation ‘unlisted public company limited by guarantee’ may provide a better vehicle for growers to achieve their RDE needs.