"It is important for all levy payers to understand how fortunate Australian horticulture industries are to receive support from the Australian Government through a model whereby the Government provides matched funding for industry levies that are expended on research and development.
Horticulture industries are able to access the benefits of this matching funding for all levy payers through Horticulture Australia Limited - HAL.
These benefits are critical in maintaining our capacity to be internationally competitive, and face the challenges of rising input prices and the impact of climate change.
It was the peak industry bodies of the Australian horticulture industries that worked with the Australian Government to HAL in 2001.
As members of the company, we maintain a close watch on all of HAL's activities, to ensure it operates effectively and cost efficiently.
As members, we select the directors of the HAL board at the company's AGM each year, and in doing so, have a very clear input into the direction of the company.
The structures that exist in HAL were designed by the peak industry bodies with the Australian Government, to ensure a balance between strong industry direction and appropriate governance.
All statutory levy funds spent through HAL are recommended by each individual industry's advisory committee (IAC).
The IAC is a subcommittee of HAL whose membership is recommended by the peak industry body of that industry.
Through HAL, industries have been able to work together on projects of importance to the whole of horticulture - such as market access and biosecurity - in addition to working on projects that affect each specific industry.
A cost-benefit analysis conducted on a cross-section of programs in HAL showed that, for every $1 invested, $3.80 was returned.
Since HAL began in 2001, eight new industries have introduced a statutory levy and many of us have voted to increase our levy.
This shows the strong grassroots support that exists for the benefits of the matching levy model managed through HAL.
It is the strong belief of all horticulture peak industry bodies that the current structure that exists to support the statutory levy and matching funding model through HAL is the most effective way of delivering efficient and equitable programs on behalf of diverse and geographically dispersed industry participants in our sector."