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Strategic Research & Development Plan 2012-17

Corporate governance

The Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989 (PIERD Act) sets out the legislative framework and rules for the establishment and operation of the GRDC.

As well as its responsibilities under the PIERD Act, the corporation has accountability and reporting obligations set out in the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, the Commonwealth Authorities (Annual Reporting) Orders 2011 and annual Commonwealth Authorities Companies Orders (Financial Statements).

Corporate governance within the GRDC is guided by the Australian National Audit Office’s Better Practice Guide: Public Sector Governance.

Table 7 sets out the key elements of the GRDC’s corporate governance framework and Table 8 identifies required accountability outcomes and mechanisms for evaluation.

Table 7 Elements of the GRDC corporate governance framework

Element Description
Accountability Through its Board, the GRDC is accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The GRDC formally reports to grain growers through their representative organisation, Grain Producers Australia.

The GRDC also communicates with stakeholders through a range of channels, including:
  • regular meetings with and reports to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • publications and online content
  • consultation with grower groups, agribusiness and R&D partners
  • a grower survey, conducted every two years
  • conferences, workshops, grower updates and similar activities.
Audit processes Independent internal and external audits are applied to the GRDC’s financial, risk, fraud, quality and RD&E management.
Environmental management The GRDC reports annually on its performance in relation to ecologically sustainable development and other matters outlined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Financial control The GRDC maintains accounts and records of transactions and affairs in accordance with accepted accounting principles generally applied in commercial practice, and with legislative requirements.
Fraud and risk management As part of the quality management system, the GRDC’s fraud and risk management framework includes processes for project, program and portfolio-level risk management, general compliance and operational risk management, financial risk management, and prudential guidelines for business ventures.
Freedom of information and privacy The GRDC complies with the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988.
Monitoring performance The GRDC monitors and measures performance to continually improve its effectiveness and efficiency. The Board, management and all staff are set performance objectives each year. Performance against these objectives is reviewed regularly.
Planning and reporting The elements of the GRDC’s corporate planning and reporting approach include:
  • strategic R&D plan—sets out the GRDC’s high-level goals, strategies and performance measures for a five-year period, developed in consultation with stakeholders and approved by the Minister
  • investment plan—informs potential research partners about some of the GRDC’s new investment priorities for the next financial year and invites interested parties to submit research proposals
  • annual procurement plan—makes procurement information publicly available through the Australian Government’s AusTender procurement management website
  • annual operational plan—specifies the annual budget, resources and research priorities that give effect to the strategic R&D plan during a given financial year
  • portfolio budget statements—as part of the Australian Government budget process, summarises the planned outputs, outcomes, performance information and financial statements for a given financial year
  • annual report—provides information on GRDC activities and their performance in relation to the goals set in the annual operational plan and portfolio budget statements for a given financial year
  • growers’ report—provides performance information to growers on R&D activities for a given financial year
  • stakeholder report—meets legislative requirements for reporting to the grains industry’s representative organisation, Grain Producers Australia.
Policies and procedures The GRDC Operating Manual, which is available to the Board and all staff members, describes the corporation’s:
  • policies and procedures
  • roles and responsibilities (including those of the Board and Board committees)
  • Code of Business Conduct and Ethical Behaviour
  • approval authority schedule, which includes delegations
  • general guidelines.
Quality management system The GRDC’s Quality Management System has ISO 9001:2008 quality assurance accreditation. The GRDC applies systematic processes designed to demonstrate clear leadership on quality and to promote quality assurance to stakeholders and others with whom the GRDC is involved.

Table 8 GRDC accountability outcomes and evaluation measures

Outcome Measures
Governance arrangements are supporting:
  • sound decision-making
  • strong accountability
  • total compliance with the Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989, the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 and other relevant legislation and regulation
  • open and constructive interaction with the GRDC’s representative organisation.
Accurate and timely external reporting.

Financial control.

Compliance with legislation and regulations.

Timely and responsive reporting to the representative organisation to provide it with the information and support it needs to carry out its governance role.
Stakeholders understand the GRDC’s strategy and what is to be achieved Research agencies’ co-investment proposals recognise the GRDC’s strategic direction.

Grains industry participants see a consistent approach to GRDC activities.

The GRDC collaborates on and participates in cross-sectoral strategies where they intersect with GRDC strategy.

The Australian Government sees benefits being delivered for the broader community.
Individual and team performance effort as well as organisational culture is aligned with the GRDC’s strategic direction. Roles are clear and responsibilities are linked through to GRDC’s objectives.
The GRDC’s information systems enable continuous knowledge creation for the benefit of the GRDC’s stakeholders. Data capture and use continually create new knowledge supporting product and service development.
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