The Mallee Regional Innovation Centre's (MRIC) four focal areas are horticulture, water, energy and the environment in irrigated production and natural resource management along the Murray River from Swan Hill, through to Mildura and the South Australian border.
The Centre is striving to prioritise and fast track research projects to strategically address key challenges of the region in these focal areas. The MRIC is adding value to the region, complementing established activities and seeking opportunities to foster new areas of development and bring new capabilities to the region.
The Centre is coordinating joint research and development projects and delivering contracts on a fee-for-service basis through pairing in-depth knowledge from the partners of the local area with the world leading research capabilities of the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. The Mallee based SuniTAFE is also a partner of the Centre and through applied research will deliver training to address emerging skill requirements.
What is innovation?
Innovation is a commitment to develop and implement more effective processes, products and ideas to deliver improved outcomes. Innovation should be an in-built part of every organisation, with its culture driving innovative thinking and creative problem solving.
About the region
The Victorian Mallee is one of Australia’s most productive areas with a Gross Regional Product in excess of $4 billion, of which agriculture represents approximately 50 per cent of that total. The area is noted for its high value irrigated horticulture with a wide diversity of sectors, producing more than 90 per cent of Victoria’s grapes, almost 98 per cent of its nuts and over 85 per cent of the state’s citrus fruit.
The region has shown leadership to establish the top position in irrigated production and environmental management. This success is demonstration of the resourcefulness of the region and its stakeholders.
MRIC will combine existing R&D expertise to address the region’s challenges and priorities for agriculture.
- Export markets are expanding which represents significant market opportunity. MRIC will take into consideration fierce competition, variable exchange rates, bureaucratic constraints and political instability
- Energy costs are a significant production cost; innovative approaches are needed to minimise costs and ensure the profitability of local production sectors
- The region can draw on local skilled labour, great training capacity to manage increasingly automated and technically complex production systems
- Water resources represent a major challenge related to access, availability and cost in the Mallee. Locally, producers have shown ingenuity and leadership to develop and implement water-use efficiency to make every drop count
- The region has high value environmental assets in the Murray River, widely recognised as the irrigator for the food bowl of the nation and famed for its forests and wetlands
- The Murray Darling Basin Plan will see major investment of up to $280 million allocated to environmental measures in the Mallee region across the coming decade