About Hort Innovation

So, how does Hort Innovation work?

Hort Innovation’s primary function is creating value for horticulture growers and those across the horticulture supply chain.  Through investment in R&D and marketing, Hort Innovation works to improve productivity, farm gate profitability and global competitiveness of Australian horticultural industries.  Hort Innovation is the link between the needs of industry, the capabilities of science, and the potential of marketing.

Hort Innovation is funded by grower levies and Australian Government contributions, as well other industry contributions and co-investment. Hort Innovation is owned by growers, the investments made are on behalf of their levy industries.

Investment decisions are prioritised by the current needs highlighted by each horticulture levy industry. To gain the necessary insight from industry, Hort Innovation undertakes widespread consultation with growers and through the Strategic Investment Advisory Panels, made up of panelists representing the levy industry. Priorities for investment can be found in each industry’s Strategic Investment Plan.

Hort Innovation oversees and manages projects with delivery partners who have proven experience and the capability to meet our required outcomes.

Do you want to know more about the levy system? Or why levies exist in the first place? What about how Hort Innovation is funded? Then read on to learn more about your Rural Research and Development Corporation.

Why do I pay a levy?

Ensuring a healthy, vibrant and sustainable horticulture sector is a priority for industry and the Australian Government alike. Research and development (R&D) addresses strategic and whole-of-industry outcomes, which need to be funded collectively. Through this collective investment, an industry can manage issues that can’t easily be dealt with at the individual business level, while at the same time building a bank of knowledge to help prepare for a profitable and secure future.

How does Hort Innovation get my levy?

Hort Innovation is one of 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations – or RDCs as they’re commonly known – established by the Australian Government to support the R&D efforts of those agricultural sectors.

Hort Innovation does not have a role in setting or collecting industry levies. Instead, the levy that you pay – either directly or via a third party – goes to Levies Management within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The levy is then passed on to Hort Innovation, who consults with industry to make investments in R&D, and marketing if appropriate, that supports the productivity, profitability, and competitiveness of your industry. Once money is spent, the Australian Government then helps share the costs of R&D investments by making a contribution to these investments, using public money. Marketing levy investments do not attract the same contribution from the Australian Government.

How is Hort Innovation funded?

The operations of Hort Innovation are funded through corporate cost recovery, meaning the business covers its operating costs through a mix of levy and Australian Government money. Recently, Hort Innovation moved to provide greater transparency in the way it recovers costs.

On the financial section of each grower page, you’ll be able to see the split of costs relevant to servicing your industry levy fund. Reporting costs in this way, rather than as a single line item, provides greater transparency around how Hort Innovation recovers costs and what it costs to service levy fund programs. Go to your grower page for more information and to see the latest financial operating statement and the accompanying explanatory notes.

Hort Innovation also gets additional funding from sources like the Australian Government Rural R&D for Profit grants that help fund additional investment activities that are important to the sector.

How is my levy invested?

Hort Innovation works with grower-based Strategic Investment Advisory Panels (SIAPs), established to help guide investment decisions. The advice of the SIAPs is based upon each industry-specific Strategic Investment Plan (you can find a copy on your grower page). These plans were developed during a year of consultation undertaken by Hort Innovation to talk to growers and industry stakeholders about the highest priorities for levy investments over five years.

After the SIAPs have provided advice to Hort Innovation on investment concepts, Hort Innovation uses a competitive tender process to seek and assess project proposals and appoint a delivery partner to undertake the work.

Once a project has started, Hort Innovation manages that investment through to completion and provides access to information about the investment to growers through its own channels and through levy-funded R&D communications and extension programs.

Find out more about how your levy is invested here.

Where can I get more information about results of my levy investments?

Glad you asked! A great place to start is to check out your industry’s grower page where lists of projects and resources can be found. In addition, your Industry Strategic Partner would love to hear from you.

We also partner with your Industry Representative Body to share information about industry R&D programs so talk to them to find out more.

Who can I speak to about my levy?

Not a problem! Call and speak to Hort Innovation at (02) 8295 2300.

If your question relates directly to the paying or collecting of a levy, you can contact Levies Management on 1800 020 619 or visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/levies