Plant breeder's rights initiatives

It's an important time for plant breeder’s rights (PBR) in Australia. Our PBR initiatives include reform, modernisation and improvements to processes. Here's where you can learn more.

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.

What's happening

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.

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 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.

Improvements for searching PBR

In May 2023 we launched a new look and feel Australian PBR Search.

Try the new search

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.

View the reports

Policy research reports 

In 2022 we commissioned reports to explore the evidence base for changes to the PBR legislation. The reports cover the following topic areas:

  • information notice scheme
  • exhaustion of PBR
  • harvested material
  • labelling requirements
  • plant variety names and synonyms
  • essentially derived varieties (EDVs).

View the reports

Workshops with Qualified Persons

In November and December 2022 over 40 Qualified Persons attended workshops with us to discuss the current processes in PBR and ideas for the future.

Case studies

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.

View our PBR case studies

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.

View our Director General's speech

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.

Read the PBR economic impact report 

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:

  • legislation 
  • forms and correspondence 
  • services
  • information technology systems
  • processes
  • information.

To keep track of some of the improvements we're already making in policy and the legislation for PBR, check out our policy register.

View the policy register

Connect with us

If you'd like to learn more about our PBR work or want to participate in our research, get in touch with our PBR reform team.

Send us an email