The Land View Peak body's fresh review

The Land Newspaper
NSW Farmers View
23 January 2014

Peter Darley - Chair Horticulture Committee

THE horticulture industry has come a long way since Horticulture Australia Ltd (HAL) was formed in 2001 with the objective of providing leadership on the provision of marketing and research and development services to the most diverse of the rural industries.

Increased pressure from imports and the growth of the market share of the major supermarkets has grown to market Australia's clean, green and healthy fruit and vegetables at home as well as search for access to export markets.

This has required HAL to focus not only on farm gate research, but also on biosecurity and phytosanitary measures required for export markets at the same time as marketing fresh produce to time poor and information overloaded Australian families.

It is amid these pressures HAL and the Australian government has commenced a wide ranging independent review into HAL, conducted by ACIL Allen Consulting.

The review, which incorporates the third formal review of HAL, will examine the performance of HAL as required under the Deed of Agreement between HAL and the Australian government.

However, unlike previous reviews, the terms of reference for the review have been extended to look at both HAL's service delivery model and the efficiency of the current levy arrangements.

ACIL Allen has conducted its preliminary review and is currently engaging with stakeholders.

A series of public forums are being held across Australia.

Two NSW forums will be held in Lismore at the NSW Department of Primary Industries Research Station and Wagga Wagga at Charles Sturt University on February 3 and 6, respectively.

Both forums start at 10.30am and will finish at 12.30pm.

The extraordinary nature of this review must not be overlooked because the outcome of it is likely to impact the way research and development, extension and marketing services are delivered into horticulture, and the role HAL and other stakeholders such as peak industry bodies play in the delivery of these services.

NSW Farmers Horticulture Committee is in the process of formulating a submission to the review and is encouraging members and non-members to complete a five to 10 minute survey, which will support the development of our submission.

The survey may be completed at www.nswfarmers.org.au/halreview

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