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CQU and AgForce welcome beefy election commitment to livestock research

Published:04 May 2022

Hon Michelle Landry MP, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, CQU Vice-Chancellor Nick Klomp and Mike Guerin from Agforce discuss the LNP's $6 million pledge for Belmont Research and AgTech Innovation Hub.

CQUniversity and AgForce have welcomed a $6 million commitment from the Coalition to secure Northern Australia’s ongoing status as a beef cattle research powerhouse.

The pre-election pledge, announced by the Hon Senator Bridget McKenzie today, will fund the development of a globally unique livestock research facility at the iconic Belmont Station in Central Queensland.

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp said the funding would enable CQU to partner with AgForce Queensland Farmers Ltd to establish a world class AgTech research facility specialising in precision livestock management innovations.

“Today’s announcement will allow CQUniversity and AgForce Queensland Farmers to establish an internationally renowned agricultural research facility right here in Rockhampton, the Beef Capital of Australia.

“This would be the only AgTech R&D hub in Australia focusing specifically on northern livestock production and will also be the only facility of its kind located in the tropics anywhere in the world.

“The establishment of the hub will allow us to reinvigorate the iconic Belmont Station and directly connect livestock producers in Central Queensland and beyond, with cutting edge technology, global research expertise, commercial AgTech providers, and purpose-built training and collaboration spaces. 

“By joining together all these elements of the RDE&A chain in one location we can make big ideas both possible and practical.”

Mike Guerin, CEO AgForce agreed by saying that the Belmont Station AgTech and Innovation hub represents the way of the future for delivering high impact and financially sustainable R&D for livestock producers. 

“Our partnership approach with CQUniversity puts producer needs and industry impact at the forefront of all R&D efforts.

“By combining producer insights with researcher expertise, the Belmont Station Research and Ag Innovation hub will help to test and deliver the tools that farmers need to boost productivity and sustainability,” Mr Guerin said. 

Minister for Regional Education, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said the $6 million will be invested to deliver the first AgTech Hub focusing on the beef industry to increase productivity, create jobs and deliver a strong economy.

“The Belmont Research Station has been the premier research station for the north Australian beef industry for over 60 years,” Minister McKenzie said.

“Our commitment of $6 million to build a Research and AgTech Innovation Hub will deliver new tools and practices with real world applications to drive productivity and growth in the Australian beef industry.

“This facility will connect livestock producers with cutting edge researchers, commercial providers and training facilities to support innovation and adoption of new techniques.

"The Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to regional Australia and our investment will deliver a globally unique research centre for tropical livestock production to support our growing beef industry.”

Funding for the project will be directed to the refurbishment and development of station facilities including a community and industry engagement facility; new stockyards, dip and loading facilities; property-wide highspeed internet connectivity; multi-species feeding infrastructure; individual animal monitoring facilities; crop, irrigation and post-harvest processing and storage equipment; new workshop and laboratory facilities.

The facility would complement existing CQUniversity AgTech research expertise and facilities focusing on horticulture in Bundaberg.