The role of the Plant Breeder’s Rights Advisory Committee under the microscope

The Plant Breeder’s Rights Advisory Committee is a statutory body that was set up to advise the Australian Government on plant breeder’s rights and matters relating to the PBR Act 1994.

In a recent audit of the efficiency of the Commonwealth Government, the PBR Advisory Committee was identified as one of nearly 500 government bodies that could be rationalised and a recommendation was made that the functions of the Committee be consolidated.

It was recognised that the government continues  to need access to technical advice on PBR’s but that there is no need for this advice to come from a statutory authority.  It is proposed that all reference to the Advisory Committee is removed from the PBR Act and that the specialised PBR advice is provided by a non-statutory mechanism.  The government has released a consultation paper and is looking for public comment on its proposed non-statutory mechanisms.  The proposals are:

  1. A consultative group supported by IP Australia (Preferred option identified in the Consultation Paper)
  2. A technical cross-government advisory committee coordinated by IP Australia
  3. Experts engaged on a case by case basis with IP Australia as Secretariat

Any interested party can make a written submission by 31 October 2014.  Watermark will follow this consultative process and report on the outcome.

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