Voice of Horticulture lobby commits to improving grower representation in Horticulture Innovation Australia

Lobby group Voice of Horticulture says growers should have more of a say in the running of the industry’s research and marketing body Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA).

It comes as the first AGM for HIA got underway in Sydney, 12 months after the Government restructured it to be entirely grower owned.

Horticulture Innovation Australia manages $100 million worth of marketing and research projects, for a sector worth nearly $10 billion dollars a year.

Despite being grower owned, only one per cent of growers have signed up to vote at this AGM, giving bigger corporate levy payers like Costa, Montague and vegetable processors like McCains and Simplot, more of a say through their votes.

Speaking before the AGM, Voice of Horticulture’s John Dollisson said his group would move to change Horticulture Innovation’s constitution, again, to correct what they saw as an anomaly.

“I think it’s important that the Peak Industry Bodies be recognised and the Statutory Funding Agreement (SFA) be changed to reflect that,” Mr Dollisson said.

“And hopefully the constitution (can) be changed to reflect the Voice of Horticulture as the representative body for horticulture.”

After the AGM, Voice of Horticulture’s Tania Chapman reiterated the move to involving growers more, through the work of their lobby group.

“Government has a role to play here, ensuring we empower the Peak Industry Bodies, without going back to the way of the past and the conflict of interest that existed before,” said Senator Ruston.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-27/horticulture-future-to-change-again/6980288

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