Media Release

New era for horticulture research and development

25 November 2014

Those who pay horticulture levies will have a direct say in how their money is spent with the new industry services and export control body, Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd, taking effect today.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce said with governance and funding arrangements underpinning the new body tabled in Parliament yesterday, it was now up to the horticulture sector to decide its own future.

“This is the beginning of a new era for horticulture, with those who pay production levies to also become the owners of the new industry services body, as opposed to the previous governance arrangements in which the former industry services body was owned by 43 peak industry bodies.

“I am confident that this new model – recommended by an independent review by ACIL Allen – will deliver even greater transparency and accountability to levy payer owners and give them a real say in how their levy funds are invested as well as the outcomes they want to achieve for their industries,” Minister Joyce said.

“Australia’s horticulture industry is worth $9.1 billion a year and employs 59,000 people in more than 17,700 enterprises making it a vital sector to the Australian economy.

“In 2013-14, the Australian Government paid $42 million of the $82 million in total for eligible horticulture research and development delivered by the former industry services body, Horticulture Australia Limited. I expect this value to rise as the value of horticulture production also rises.”

Minister Joyce said there was a powerful link between research and development and agricultural productivity growth – and R&D is a key driver of greater farmgate returns.

“The evidence is overwhelming – research and development investment across agriculture has delivered productivity returns far in excess of the cost of the investment. ABARES has found that for every dollar the government invests in agricultural R&D, farmers generate a $12 return within 10 years,” Minister Joyce said.

“Improving productivity is globally recognised as an essential ingredient in maintaining a competitive agriculture sector and this government is serious about making sure our horticulture sector has the right structures in place to make the most of every cent invested.

Minister Joyce said the new body is being led by a highly skilled board of directors with a broad range of skills and experience.

“I encourage all horticulture levy payers to get behind the new company and become members of Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd,” Minister Joyce said.