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Matthew Jones

BY MATTHEW JONES

@matt_fruitnet

Australian horticulture finds new voice

New body pledges to represent political interests of nationís 30,000 producers, with export a key focus

Australian horticulture finds new voice

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A new entity will allow 21 Australian horticultural industries to speak up in the hope of developing the A$50bn sector.

The aptly name Voice of Horticulture was launched today (18 December), following on from the formation of Australia’s new research and development corporation for horticulture, Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA), earlier this year.

“Voice of Horticulture represents all horticultural growers and businesses across fruit, nuts, turf, nursery plants and cut flowers, who work every day to feed and sustain us,” said Tania Chapman, chair of Voice of Horticulture. “It is a critical time to ensure growers have a direct link to HIA, politicians and policy makers to ensure the potential of their industries is realised.”

Chapman said Voice of Horticulture will play an advocacy role, represent the political interests of Australia’s 30,000 horticultural producers.

“We are such a diverse sector across dozens of commodities that are comprised of primarily small- to medium-sized businesses,” says Tania. “Coming together under the Voice of Horticulture allows growers to more readily be heard and represented to help the government and HIA better understand our issues and interests to guide their decisions.”

Voice of Horticulture director John Dollisson said the body would have a particular focus on developing new opportunities for Australian horticultural exports, a sector valued at A$1.5bn over 2013/14.

““If we have more of our fresh produce exported we start to see an improvement in the balance of trade – great news for the economy, whilst at the same time growing the horticulture sector in Australia,” explained Dollisson, who is also chief executive of Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL).  “But our growers need support to realise this potential. Voice of Horticulture will work with government and politicians to improve domestic production and export market access for horticultural products; ensure Free Trade Agreements benefit growers; and work on issues that unite us like labelling, biosecurity and chemical use.”

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