On the right course
The importance of plant breeders’ rights
Australia was one of the last developed economies to introduce legislation that protected the intellectual property rights of plant breeders. In 1994, the eventual introduction of an effective Australian Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR) Act in 1994 has since encouraged private investment.
The horticulture, floriculture, pasture seed and tropical crops sectors were quick to access elite international germplasm, whose owners had previously declined Australian opportunities due to the lack of protection offered for their property rights. These rights are recognised internationally under the UPOV Treaty conventions, of which Australia is now a signatory, and its benefits have spread across all sectors, as seen in the range of products available in today’s market.
Find out more about plant breeders’ rights on the government’s website.
A growing sector
Progress in private investment for broadacre, open-pollinated crops, such as wheat and barley, has been much slower. But momentum is building quickly, especially with the GRDC announcing in 1999 that, as a result of sector-wide reviews, it would not continue to support the traditional plant variety breeding agencies beyond 2005. This decision paved the way for new, commercially focused and internationally connected operators such as LongReach.
Sector consolidation is now accelerating. Elite proprietary genetic material with a wide spectrum of disease resistance and quality traits is now available to Australia as it never has been before. You can get more information on GRDC reviews of the performance of the Australian cereal-breeding sector on the GRDC website.