Enhancing Food Security in Australia by Supporting Transformative Change

  • Sarah Park
  • Steven Crimp
  • Simon Attwood
  • Nadine Marshall
  • Mark Howden


A key challenge for Australian farmers is the production of a sustainable, stable and sufficient quantity and quality of food. This must be done against a backdrop of numerous unprecedented changes in climatic, environmental, economic and social conditions. We consider the role that research and development (R&D) can play in facilitating effective change management in the agricultural sector.

Reflecting on the historical development of agriculture on the continent over the past two centuries, we highlight some of the pivotal agricultural developments and their social, economic and environmental impacts, as well as the prevailing R&D context at the time. This shows how agricultural development in Australia has at times been abruptly altered by fundamental transformative activities.

As further transformative changes are likely to be increasingly required into the future, we consider how a better understanding of the decision-making processes used to manage change may enhance the effectiveness of the R&D delivered to today’s agricultural producers. We describe our attempts to systematically assess how decisions to fundamentally transform agricultural enterprises are made by stakeholders at different stages in the food production chain. We suggest that the greater costs, risks and complexity associated with transformative, as compared with incremental, change management may require the enhanced consciousness that is evident in triple-loop learning. We also identify a number of factors that may hinder or facilitate attempts to transform, and how R&D investments can better support agricultural producers maintain and increase their contribution to the nation’s current status as a net exporter of food.


Governance System Incremental Change Food Security Status Food Production System Triple Loop Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Park
    • 1
  • Steven Crimp
    • 1
  • Simon Attwood
    • 2
  • Nadine Marshall
    • 3
  • Mark Howden
    • 1
  1. 1.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)CanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Fenner School of Environment and SocietyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)TownsvilleAustralia

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