Program 1.5: Horticulture industry

​​​Program objective

  • foster and enable productive, profitable, internationally competitive and sustainable horticulture and wine industries.

Program description

We worked with the horticulture industry to support the development of internationally competitive supply chains, removing barriers to international market access for Australian horticultural exports. We also provided assistance in market development to increase consumption of horticulture products and support research and development to encourage industry innovation.

More information is available at horticulture policy and wine ​​policy.

Key performance indicators

Table 6 Program 1.5—Horticulture industry—key performance indicators
Key performance indicator2012–13 targetPerformance
2012–132011–122010–11
Effective policies, programs and regulations that contribute to enhanced productivity, profitability, competitiveness and sustainabilityAccurate and timely advice provided aMet
Engage with domestic and international stakeholders on horticulture and wine issuesFive meetings aMet
All levy funds paid to Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and Wine Australia100%MetMetMet
Timely and effective engagement with HAL, GWRDC and Wine Australia to ensure compliance with statutory funding agreement and relevant legislation and to discuss industry activitiesTwo meetings eachMetMetMet
Scientific and economic research
Underpinning research, advice, forecasts, projects, products and data services are delivered on time, within budget and are of high quality85% aMet

aNew performance indicator.

Achievements

Reforming exports

In December 2012, the government decided to remove the horticulture export efficiency powers enabled by the Horticulture Marketing and Research and Development Services Act 2000 and subordinate legislation. The decision was supported by an ABARES review conducted under the guidance of an interdepartmental committee chaired by the department.

The Orders regulating the export of apples, pears and dried grapes to all export markets were revoked on 31 January 2013. The Orders relating to all citrus exports will be retained until 31 January 2015 at the request of the citrus industry. However, the single-importer arrangement for citrus to the United States market has ceased and a Citrus to US Marketing Program established in its place.

The citrus industry program sets a minimum price an exporter will pay to a packer for citrus destined for the United States. The removal of the single importer arrangement will allow Australian exporters to build direct relationships with US retailers and help develop new export opportunities. A regulation impact statement is available from the Office of Best Practice Regulation.

Funding olive industry research

We worked to establish a new statutory levy on olives used in processing (that is, pickled into table olives, pressed into olive oil), which commenced in May 2013. Revenue from the levy, which is payable to Horticulture Australia Ltd (HAL) and Plant Health Australia, aims to support the olive industry to conduct new research and development to improve its productivity, competitiveness and biosecurity preparedness and response.

Supporting the wine industry

We supported the industry’s proposal to merge the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and Wine Australia Corporation. The peak wine industry bodies, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Grape Growers Australia, lodged a formal submission with the government and we worked with other departments to analyse the proposal and provide advice to the minister.

In December 2012, the minister announced the government’s support for the merger proposal. We have begun working on the transition to the new merged authority by 1 July 2014, with the Grape and Wine Legislation Amendment (Australian Grape and Wine Authority) Bill 2013 and related bills passed by the House of Representatives and introduced into the Senate in June 2013.3

ABARES undertook a national telephone survey of wine grape growers to provide a benchmark analysis of the economic structure and financial performance of the wine grape growing industry. The work will assist stakeholders to develop plans for the future direction of the wine grape growing industry.

Marketing

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

The funds support Australia’s first global wine forum, Savour Australia 2013, to be held in Adelaide in September 2013, and a range of activities in key international markets, including consumer and trade events, retail promotions, tastings, educational initiatives, master classes and sommelier immersion activities.

International engagement

We led the Australian delegation to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) and attended three meetings in 2012–13. We continue to pursue a reform agenda, with our proposals to increase the OIV’s transparency gaining support from other countries. We have also gained support for a proposal to change the approach to the work of the OIV, to reduce reliance on resolutions and increase its research and advisory role.

Graduate students (left to right) Sebastian Quinn, Patrick Sachs, Flora Anderson, Benedicto Jose Baquirin, Carly Housley and Saphira Rameshfar in Mildura. 

Facilitating new market opportunities for horticulture was the focus for one of the projects in DAFF’s 2012 graduate program (see Organisational capability). As part of their training with DAFF, a group of graduates visited Mildura to meet Citrus Australia, the Australian Table Grape Association, growers, exporters and packers. The group was one of 11 teams that presented findings to DAFF’s senior management on policy and program opportunities across our portfolio industries.

Graduate students (left to right) Sebastian Quinn, Patrick Sachs, Flora Anderson, Benedicto Jose Baquirin, Carly Housley and Saphira Rameshfar in Mildura.

Photo: DAFF

European Union

We led the Australian delegation to the third meeting of the Australia–European Community Agreement on Trade in Wine Joint Management Committee in March 2013. Matters discussed included the implications of the European Union (EU) seeking to protect the term ‘classic’ for use by the United States, the European Union’s interpretation of derogations in the wine agreement and the protection of geographical indications and rules preventing Australian companies from exporting still wine to the European Union in bulk and transforming it into sparkling wine, despite the fact that EU producers may do so.

Research and development

We worked with the GWRDC to develop its 2012–17 research and development plan. The plan demonstrates that GWRDC’s programs align with the Rural Research and Development Priorities and the National Research Priorities.

Challenges

Horticulture Australia Limited

At the minister’s request, the department worked with HAL to investigate claims by participants in the citrus and avocado industries that conflicts of interest affect the advice offered to the HAL Board by the relevant industry advisory committees. HAL’s report to DAFF largely substantiated the claims and HAL advised a number of preliminary actions it would take to address the investigation’s findings.

Other proposals are being discussed with HAL to ensure good governance of all of HAL’s advisory committees. More information is available at horticulture policy.

Australian wine grape growers survey

The Australian Government announced funding of $340 000 in the 2012–13 Federal Budget for ABARES to undertake a benchmark analysis of production and financial performance of the wine grape growing industry. The level of funding was not sufficient for ABARES to conduct face-to-face interviews with wine grape growers across Australia, so the challenge was to develop an alternative methodology for data collection.

ABARES consulted industry peak bodies to design a telephone questionnaire that would encompass 1000 grape growing farms. Telephone interviews are subject to a time limit and this limited the scope of data that could be collected. ABARES surveys are also voluntary and it proved difficult to convince growers in some regions to take part. As a result ABARES has drawn on alternative data sources to help supplement this analysis and the results were scheduled for publication in August 2013.

3 This legislation lapsed when Parliament was prorogued on 5 August 2013 ahead of the Federal election on 7 September 2013.

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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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