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New agency to put food, fibre technology on the map.

Queensland is aiming to become a world leader in food and fibre technologies with the establishment of a new A$100 million research agency.

To be known as the Agency for Food and Fibre Sciences (AFFS), the new body will pull together the research efforts of more than 1400 staff working in areas as diverse as biotechnology, climate forecasting, food technology, fish, horticulture, beef, sheep, wool and forestry.

AFFS will cover 148 centres around the State with a budget this year of around A$100 million in government and private research funding.

AFFS will be created within the Department of Primary Industries.

"This will put Queensland on the world map in the critical area of food and fibre research," Premier Peter Beattie said.

The initiative would give Queensland primary produce an enormous boost through opportunities for value adding and competitiveness in a highly aggressive world market.

The AFFS will:

* link all DPI research, development and extension activities within one single agency to achieve a cross-fertilisation of ideas from a range of disciplines;

* establish a major research, development and extension force which will be identified nationally and internationally;

* provide the State's major primary industries with a greater scientific capability into the new millennium; and

* offer improved professional career paths and opportunities for scientists and research staff.

"There will be a major emphasis on safe and effective bio-technology," Beattie said.

The new agency will be overseen by the Queensland Food and Fibre Science Innovation Council, to be chaired by the Minister for Primary Industries, and comprising scientists, leaders of industry, and top business people.

"This council will aim to build strong linkages from our scientists and technologists to industry and the private sector," Beattie said.

DPI's chief scientist, Dr Joe Baker, will be deputy chair. Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk said the AFFS would provide new and greater opportunities to focus DPI's scientific effort on what primary producers really wanted.

"It will also have major spin-offs for consumers and the community at large through better and safer food and fibre products," he said.

"This will help to ensure that every advance made by this cutting-edge science agency will benefit the Queensland community."

Palaszczuk said there would be full consultation with industry about the final shape of the agency.
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Publication:Business Asia
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Sep 30, 1999
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