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AU: Industry AGMs focus on the future

The Voice of Horticulture and Horticulture Innovation Australia both held Annual general meetings last Friday with both groups separately looking forward to working together.

There was a sense of hope and optimism to emerge from the recent Annual General Meetings of Horticulture Innovation Australia and the Voice of Horticulture, both of which occurred last Friday.

Both groups have been recently established. The Voice of Horticulture emerged from the Horticulture Industry Taskforce in March 2015 and Horticulture Innovation Australia was duly recognised by Minister Joyce in November 2014.

The Voice of Horticulture now represents 34 different peak industry bodies from around Australia, accounting for the vast majority of the industry’s $10 billion farm gate value and 30,000 businesses.

Last Friday the Voice of Horticulture elected 3 board members with vacancies occurring due to a compulsory spill of two positions and a casual vacancy. Lisa Rowntree, grower and director of Australian Olives Association, Peter Vaughan, CEO of Nursery and Garden Industry Australia and John Dollisson, CEO of Apple and Pear Australia, were duly elected.

The new Voice of Horticulture Board
(L-R) Peter Vaughan, Pat McNamara, Lisa Rowntree, Doug Phillips, Tania Chapman (Chair) and John Dollisson

Chair of the Voice of Horticulture, and citrus grower, Tania Chapman was excited by the outcomes of the Voice of Horticulture AGM. “We had six nominations for three board positions and a large contingent of grower organisations represented at the meeting. The strong interest in the Voice of Horticulture and the opportunities for the industry, augers well for a clear, consistent and united voice in plotting the industry’s future growth” she said.

“The Voice of Horticulture is increasing its recognition in Canberra and elsewhere as a transparent and representative group seeking to maximise returns to horticulture growers in the fruit, nut, nursery, turf and cut flower industries.”

Members of the Voice of Horticulture recently endorsed the focus on ensuring that Horticulture Innovation Australia provides improved outcomes for growers. Ms. Chapman commented that Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) has had a challenging year. “The first 12 months of HIA has been a period of transition involving new relationships with key stakeholders” she said. “I am hopeful that the government and the organisation can be flexible and transparent in the way that they resource the horticulture industry’s research, development and marketing needs and consult well with industry to ensure effective outcomes.

Ms. Chapman welcomed the new grower elected board members at HIA, Sue Finger and Stephen Lynch as well as the other successful candidates Richard Hamley and Mark Napper.

According to Ms. Chapman “Continued and increased investment in research, development and extension (R, D&E) is essential to improve the productivity of the horticulture industry. Strong R&D increases the sustainability of production and allows improvements in supply chains for better quality outcomes for consumers.” “Continuing matched levy R&D funding boosts Australia’s knowledge and expertise capability for the future and enables Australian horticulture to seize the opportunities presented by the growing food requirements of Asian economies.”

For more information:
John Dollisson
Voice of Horticulture
Tel: +61413 111 123

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