Program 1.5: Horticulture industry

​Program objectives

The objectives of this program are to:

  • advance and improve the competitiveness of Australia's horticulture, food and beverage industries
  • maintain appropriate industry regulatory functions and statutory funding for research and development.

Review of performance

This review addresses the deliverables identified in the 2011–12 Port​folio Budget Statements. Table 6 summarises the extent to which we have met key performance indicators.

Promoting productivity and competitiveness

Regional Food Producers' Innovation and Productivity Program

This program, launched in December 2008, aimed to boost the productivity of the food production sector by providing assistance to regional food producers to develop or adopt innovative new technologies or to redesign and improve existing production lines. The program ended on 30 June 2012.

We offered 31 projects up to $16.13 million over two funding rounds. Of these, 24 grantees accepted funds totalling $11.6 million, leveraging a similar amount in industry funding through the matching requirements of the program.

Projects funded under the program have updated and improved systems, identified areas for savings and developed new technologies. The funds have enabled grantees to increase productivity and efficiency along the supply chain, from production and transportation through to storage, shelf life and presentation.

Innovations adopted under the program have added value to the sector in line with our broader strategic direction of promoting the productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of portfolio industries.

Businesses that benefited covered a range of industries, including seafood, dairy, meat and meat products, poultry, vegetables, nuts and grains.

Responding to industry developments and issues

Wine industry

The department represented Australia at meetings of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) in October 2011 and March 2012 and the OIV General Assembly in June 2012. The OIV is the peak intergovernmental scientific and technical organisation dedicated to wine. We were involved in discussion of issues including:

  • labelling
  • wine production
  • allergen labelling
  • definitions of genetically modified vines and vine material
  • the description and definition of reduced alcohol wines.

We were successful in having resolutions altered to the benefit of the Australian wine industry. A range of OIV recommendations are automatically adopted by the European Union and some OIV member states.

We worked with the Australian industry and the OIV to develop a response to new Chinese food standards. These standards have the potential to limit wine exported to China if they include a number of additives and wine processing aids commonly used in the manufacture of wine. We helped the industry develop and lodge applications to change these standards and will continue to assist through the Chinese assessment process.

The department hosted the second meeting of the Australia–European Community Agreement on Trade in Wine Joint Management Committee in March 2012. Matters discussed included advice from the European Union about key issues, including the ability of Australian producers to sell 'Prosecco' in that market and the European position on the labelling of Australian bulk wine that is labelled in the European Union.

We worked closely with Wine Australia and the retail sector to overcome issues that arose following 2010 amendments to the Label Integrity Program (LIP). The purpose of the LIP is to ensure the truthfulness of the label claim of a wine, as it relates to vintage, variety and the origin of the wine as indicated by the Geographical Indication. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2012 was introduced to the House of Representatives on 21 March 2012, with the purpose of providing a solution that is acceptable to retailers, while maintaining the integrity of the LIP. This solution would remove the recordkeeping requirements of suppliers or receivers of wine goods that are packaged for sale to a consumer. Receivers of wine would be required to provide the details of the supplier of the wine goods. The Bill was passed by the House on 9 May 2012.

We continued to assist industry in considering changes to marketing, export licensing and research and development services currently delivered by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and Wine Australia. We prepared a paper that described and assessed options for change and industry peak bodies have approached the government to seek in principle support for a merger of GWRDC and Wine Australia.

In 2011, Wine Australia announced major changes to its compliance system, removing a requirement that all wines to be exported be tasted and have their labels checked. We provided advice to Wine Australia on aspects of this change.

We also attended meetings of the National Research Coordination Forum as part of the Wine Research, Development and Extension Strategy.

Horticulture industry

We continued to provide secretariat support to the Produce and Grocery Industry Code Administration Committee. The committee comprises representatives from:

  • Coles and Woolworths
  • Australian Retailers Association
  • Victorian Farmers Federation
  • National Association of Retail Grocers Australia
  • Australian Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries.

It administers the Produce and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct. The voluntary and industry-owned produce and grocery code applies to vertical transactions within the produce and grocery industry and provides a mediation service through the Produce and Grocery Industry Ombudsman. In 2011–12, the ombudsman handled 19 inquiries and appointed one mediator.

We commenced a review of the regulation of horticultural exports, enabled by the Horticulture Marketing and Research and Development Services Act 2000 and subordinate legislation. The statutory funding agreement between the Commonwealth and Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) requires that the regulation of horticultural exports be reviewed against the principles of national competition policy.

ABARES is conducting the review with the guidance of an interdepartmental steering committee, chaired by the department. The committee also includes representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Finance and Deregulation and the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. Public consultation was undertaken in November 2011, to obtain information for the review, with further consultation from July to August 2012.

Honey Bee Industry and Pollination Continuity Strategy

This strategy was developed with the assistance of an expert working group and was finalised in May 2011. The strategy sets out actions that should ensure business continuity for honey producers and pollination service providers in the event that the Varroa mite, a significant honey bee pest, becomes established in Australia.

Plant Health Australia (PHA) is coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the strategy. PHA chairs a management committee with members from DAFF, state government agencies and the honey bee and plant industries. The committee met for the first time in November 2011.

The main focus of the committee during the year has been on communication, collating contact details for key communication channels in the bee keeping community and obtaining information from other countries on Varroa mite management.

A bee on a lavender flower
'Pollination'—the winning image in the Our Resources category of the 2012 DAFF Photo competition
Taken by Victoria Stewart.

Research, development and marketing


We commenced the assessment of industry submissions for:

  • new research and development (R&D), PHA and Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR) levies on olives
  • an increase to the marketing, R&D, PHA and EPPR levies for mangoes
  • increases to the marketing and R&D levies on mushrooms.

Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation

The GWRDC is a statutory corporation that supports the development of the Australian wine industry by planning and funding collective research and development programs and then facilitating the dissemination, adoption and commercialisation of the results throughout the industry. We worked with GWRDC to ensure it meets its legislative requirements, including facilitating the minister's approval of its 2012–17 Research and Development Plan. The GWRDC met its statutory obligations in 2011–12.

Wine Australia

Wine Australia (previously the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation) is a statutory authority established in 1981 to provide strategic support to the Australian wine sector. Its mission is to enhance the operating environment for the benefit of the Australian wine industry by providing the leading role in:

  • market development
  • knowledge development
  • compliance
  • trade.

We work with Wine Australia on resolving market access issues. Wine Australia met its statutory obligations in 2011–12.

Horticulture Australia Limited

Legislation allows declared industry-owned R&D corporations to receive industry levies and matching government contributions via statutory funding agreements with the Commonwealth.

HAL is the horticulture industry's services provider and export control body and invests in research and development, services, marketing and promotion. We administer HAL's statutory funding agreement. During the year, we monitored HAL's governance and risk management. HAL continued to meet its statutory obligations.

The department commenced an investigation into claims by participants in the citrus and avocado industries that conflicts of interest affect the advice offered to the HAL board by its citrus and avocado advisory committees.

Key performance indicators

Table 6 Program 1.5: Horticulture industry—key performance indicators
Key performance indicator 2011–12 target Achievement
2011–12 2010–11 2009–10

Manage existing grant deeds to project completion and program termination





Performance: We administered the remaining projects from the two funding rounds under the Regional Food Producers Innovation and Productivity Program to completion. The program ended on 30 June 2012. DAFF met the targets for key performance indicators for projects under this program in 2009–10 and 2010–11.

Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) compliance with the statutory funding agreement and Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWDRC) and Wine Australia Corporation compliance with statutory responsibilities





DAFF is satisfied that HAL has materially met its obligations in accordance with its Deed of Agreement. The department is also satisfied that these were met for the year 2010–11.
DAFF is satisfied that the GWRDC and Wine Australia have materially met their obligations. The department is also satisfied that these were met for the years 2009–10 and 2010–11.
DAFF reported on the compliance of these bodies as a 'deliverable' in 2010–11. This was also the case for HAL, GWRDC and the then Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation in 2009–10.

Meet with Horticulture Australia Limited, Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, and Wine Australia Corporation to ensure compliance with statutory funding agreements or statutory responsibilities

2 meetings




Performance: DAFF held meetings with HAL in October 2011 and March 2012 as required under the 2010–14 statutory funding agreement. Six-monthly meetings were also held in 2009–10 and 2010–11.
In 2009–10, 2010–11 and 2011–12, DAFF met GWRDC and Wine Australia as required to ensure compliance with their statutory responsibilities.

All levy funds paid to Horticulture Australia Limited, Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation and Wine Australia.




Performance: DAFF has regularly met this target. In 2011–12, all payments were made on time and in accordance with the relevant agreements.

Minister/parliamentary secretary and executive satisfied with the quality and timeliness of policy advice and support

High level of satisfaction achieved


Performance: DAFF has provided extensive policy advice and support to the minister and parliamentary secretary. This advice has been received with a high level of satisfaction.
This is a new indicator.

Outlook for 2012–13

We will continue to work with the wine industry to identify and address market access issues, particularly in the key European and Chinese markets.

The wine industry peak bodies have commenced a consultation process seeking industry support for a merger of the GWRDC and the Wine Australia Corporation. Industry expects to lodge a formal proposal for change to government following the conclusion of the consultation process. We will provide advice to the government on the merits of a merger and, if it agrees, prepare legislation for the merger.

We will work with Wine Australia to ensure new funding of $2.1 million over two years, announced in the 2012–13 Budget to assist with the marketing of Australian wine, is used effectively.

We will work with the industry and the Australian Bureau of Statistics to assess industry data requirements and develop a user pays model for funding future data collection. ABARES will conduct a benchmarking survey of the wine grape growing industry in 2012–13. The survey will provide individual grape growers and winemakers with a better understanding of the industry and help industry leaders plan for the future, as well as provide a model for future surveys.

We will continue supporting the honey bee industry and government to manage the risk of Varroa mite becoming established in Australia. PHA will continue coordinating and monitoring these actions and we will continue to participate in the Varroa Continuity Strategy Management Committee.

We expect to complete and make recommendations to the minister on:

  • the review of the regulation of horticultural exports
  • the investigation into the conflicts of interest in the HAL Board's citrus and avocado advisory committees
  • the assessment of industry submissions for new or increased levies for the olive, mango and mushroom industries.
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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