MPI aims to wrap up PGP review by end of April
By Rebecca Howard
Jan. 15 (BusinessDesk) - The government's review of the Primary Growth Partnership is underway, with the first phase due to be wrapped up by late January and the second by the end of April, with one programme partner providing feedback and ideas to date.
The research and development programme was launched in 2010 and, to date, government and industry have invested some $759 million in 22 programmes, with 16 still underway. In late November Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor, who was critical of the programme while in opposition, called for a review, stating the new government needs to prioritise spending.
According to the Ministry of Primary Industries, the review is being led by MPI staff and will be carried out in two phases. The first phase involves evaluating existing documentation, such as progress review and programme completion reports, evaluations, and audits. It will also identify any improvements MPI can make to its processes and systems, for example in the areas of governance, PGP programme application criteria, and providing assistance to applicants on business case development. The goal is to complete that phase up by the end of this month, it said.
The second phase will assess the economic benefits to date from PGP programmes. The aim is to finish that phase by the end of April, according to MPI.
An MPI spokesman confirmed some initial feedback was sought from the programmes by Jan. 14 but emphasised the "programmes are being invited to provide input and ideas into the review through the course of the review".
He said "one programme partner has provided some feedback and ideas to date. Other programmes have signalled they will provide input shortly or in the second phase of the review. The feedback and ideas will be analysed and worked through as the review progresses,"
Last week, National Party primary industries spokesman Nathan Guy was critical of the deadline. "Stakeholders have been given an impossibly small window of opportunity to provide feedback on the government’s mindless proposals – it looks like the January 14 deadline has been set to ensure as little feedback as possible," he said.
MPI will not consider new funding proposals until the review is complete although it does not affect proposals under development that have already been approved. Business cases are being prepared for nine new programmes in this category. They will progress through the application process as usual, MPI said.