New CRCs to combat methane emissions, plastic waste get $127M funding

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Image credit: R_Yosha/stock.adobe.com

The Australian Government has unveiled a $127 million investment to back new research centres to cut emissions in the agriculture sector and eliminate plastic waste. 

The funding comes from Round 24 of the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program, an initiative established in 1990 to foster collaborations between industry, researchers, and end-users. 

The latest investment, announced today by Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic, will support the establishment of two new large-scale CRCs: the CRC for Zero Net Emissions from Agriculture and the Solving Plastic Waste CRC. 

“The message from the latest Climate Statement is clear. We’re close but we need to pull out all the stops to get over the line on our 2030 climate commitments,” said Minister Husic. 

“We need to mobilise Australian industry to play its role in the transition to net zero now. But we also need to think about the next big steps, which is why it is important to get Australian science and industry working together on this.” 

The program allocated $87 million for the CRC for Zero Net Emissions, which aims to foster the development of technologies to reduce methane emissions from grazing cattle and sheep and to enhance crop quality and production. 

Meanwhile, the Solving Plastic Waste CRC secured $40 million to boost efforts in transforming the manufacturing, design, usage, and recycling of plastics. The centre also seeks to develop a solution to remove microplastic pollution in soil. 

The new centres align with the priority areas of the National Reconstruction Fund and the federal government’s broader ambitions to achieve net zero by 2050 and tackle plastic waste. 

The CRCs will use more than $315 million in cash and in-kind contributions from project partners and improve industry outcomes across the agriculture, environment, recycling, and manufacturing sectors. 

More than 118 project partners from across the country will be involved in the two new centres, including 50 small to medium enterprises, 21 university partners from 17 universities, and 14 government agencies, including CSIRO. 

“There are very few challenges more crucial than achieving net zero emissions and tackling plastic pollution,” the minister said. “I wish these two new CRCs every success in achieving the important objectives they have set.”

Since its inception more than 30 years ago, the CRC Program has invested a total of $5.7 billion to establish 238 CRCs and 232 CRC Projects, leveraging a further $17.3 billion in cash and in-kind contributions from collaborating partners from industry, research, government, and community organisations. 

In addition to the latest funding, Minister Husic announced that applications for Round 25 of the CRC Program will open on 8 January 2024, up until 5 March 2024. 

For more information about the new funding round, visit business.gov.au.