What are the new initiatives?
PBR initiatives include:
- dedicated review and reform program to explore Australia’s plant breeding ecosystem and the role of PBR
- ongoing policy and legislation agenda
- information technology systems modernisation
- improvements to PBR processes, forms and information
- public education and awareness.
Review and reform of the plant breeder's rights system
We're focused on the current and future needs of Australian agriculture, including all industries where PBR is relevant and plays a role.
The Australian PBR system exists to encourage the development of new plant varieties. New plant varieties can greatly benefit the economy and society as a whole.
Technologies and industries connected with plant breeding continue to advance and evolve. However, PBR legislation has largely remained the same since it was introduced in 1994.
Through our research, we want to ensure the PBR system is:
- fit for purpose
- supporting plant breeding industries
- connected with the government's priorities relating to agriculture and growth.
Where we've focused
Our research is particularly focused on Australian industries and the Australian economy. However, our place in the global landscape is also critically important for PBR.
Australia is a member of the 1991 International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention). Australia is committed to maintaining a system of plant variety protection with the features agreed in the UPOV Convention.
Issues relating to importing and exporting plant varieties and products are also front of mind in our review. These are very important when considering any future directions or impacts.
Research supports the importance of PBR in the plant breeding ecosystem, but there are opportunities for improvements across different aspects of the system.
We'll continue to update this page with new initiatives and ways to be involved.
Improvements to the PBR search
In May 2023 we launched a new look and feel PBR Search that better serves our customers in line with modern design and functionality.
We've continued to operate the existing PBR Database Search for a few months to help with the transition and collect your feedback.
We're preparing to decommission the existing PBR Database Search and it will soon no longer be available. We'll communicate with PBR customers in advance of this.
We appreciate the feedback we’ve received from customers so far. Please let us know if you have concerns or need additional support.
Education and awareness
We're taking a targeted approach to public education and awareness, helping to connect people and businesses with the information they need so that they're empowered to make informed decisions about PBR.
We’re seeking partnerships to help connect industry members with information they need to know about PBR and answer questions they have. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What we've done
We've undertaken a number of activities to help improve our PBR system.
PBR examination timeframes workshops
In August 2023 over 50 PBR stakeholders participated in workshops focused on timeframes in the PBR application and examination process. These workshops explored ideas for reforms to address various issues.
New report on costs and economic benefits of PBR
We partnered again with Swinburne University’s Centre for Transformative Innovation to conduct a survey focused on the costs of pursuing a PBR and how PBR incentivises investment and commercialisation of new plant varieties.
The report of this study, and a visual summary, are now available.
Policy research reports
Workshops with Qualified Persons
We've heard that real life case studies can be helpful for people to understand the benefits of a PBR, and how it can apply to their business. To help you gain a greater insight into what they are and how they work, we've created some engaging case studies as educational resources.
Director General’s Australasian Plant Breeding Conference speech
Watch our Director General, Michael Schwager, present a review of PBR, intellectual property and the agricultural economy at the 2022 conference.
Initial economic research
We wanted to get a better understanding of the:
- users of Australia’s PBR system
- economic impact of PBR.
To do this, we partnered with Swinburne University’s Centre for Transformative Innovation to conduct research about the economic impact of PBR.
Stakeholder interviews and conversations
Between October 2021 and early January 2022, we held 70 interviews with people and businesses directly involved in plant breeding or playing a role in the broader plant breeding ecosystem.
At the same time, the team had another 30 targeted conversations with people and organisations who had different connections with the PBR system.
Creating a better experience in PBR
Alongside our reform work, we're continuing to make improvements to your overall experience with us. This includes ongoing work to uplift and modernise aspects of our:
- forms and correspondence
- information technology systems
To keep track of some of the improvements we're already making in policy and the legislation for PBR, check out our policy register.