Nine small and medium businesses will share in more than $800,000 in initial grant funding to develop innovative solutions to challenges in water markets and biosecurity, as part of the Australian Government’s Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII).
The nine grant recipients for these challenges will test the feasibility of their ideas during 2017.
If the tests are successful, the grant recipients may then go on to apply for a further grant of up to $1 million to develop a prototype or proof of concept.
BRII is a National Innovation and Science Agenda initiative that includes two challenges in the agriculture and water resources portfolio.
The first is to provide a technical solution to improve the transparency and reliability of information about Australia’s water market.
The second challenge is to develop on-the-spot technology to assist with preventing hitchhiking pests of biosecurity concern from entering Australia on aircraft.
Assistant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture’s Water Acquisition and Markets Branch, Mary Colreavy, said she looked forward to seeing more timely, accurate, detailed and transparent water market information.
“Australia is a world leader in the development of water markets—but as these markets grow, new sources of water information and types of water products are being developed,” Ms Colreavy said.
“This means it can be challenging for water users to find reliable, up-to-date information about the changing market so they can be confident in making informed trading decisions.
“We want to make it easier for irrigators and others to find all the information they need in one place—and the BRII programme is helping us to partner with four innovative businesses that have the potential to develop that technology.
“I look forward to seeing these exciting projects progress.”
Head of the Department of Agriculture Compliance Division, Raelene Vivian, said the funding being offered to small and medium enterprises under BRII presented opportunities to find quicker and more effective ways to manage the process of aircraft disinsection, which prevents insect pests from hitchhiking into Australia.
“To protect human health, our agricultural industries, environment and economy, all aircraft entering Australia must be treated prior to arrival in the country to keep out hitchhiking pests like disease-carrying mosquitoes,” Ms Vivian said.
“Currently this process involves time-consuming and costly tests to ensure that insecticide residues in aircraft are both safe and sufficient to eliminate mosquitoes and other insects.
“We are hoping for a solution that provides on-the-spot technology to deliver a quick, accurate and cost-effective way for our biosecurity officers to assess aircraft disinsection activities.
“An effective solution will have important benefits for the strength of our national biosecurity systems and the health of all Australians.”