Agriculture minister welcomes new horticulture body

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7 October 2014

The Australian Government today welcomed the registration of Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited as a new research, development and marketing body to support Australia's $9.5 billion horticulture industry.

"Horticulture Innovation Australia will be ably led by its board members Ridley Bell, Rob Clark, David Cliffe, Susan Finger, David Moon, Stephen Morrow, Mark Napper, Selwyn Snell and Peter Wauchope," Minister Joyce said.

At the first meeting, to be held later this month, the members of the board will select the chair and deputy chair of the new company.

"These board members bring well-rounded skills to the company, including a wealth of corporate and horticulture knowledge which will help deliver a profitable future for Australia’s horticulture industry," Minister Joyce said.

"I expect Horticulture Innovation Australia will finalise its structure and the company's constitution at its first meeting. I also expect it to commence negotiations with the government around a deed of agreement which could see it receive and invest more than $100 million in grower levies, industry contributions and taxpayer funds in horticulture programmes annually."


The establishment of Horticulture Innovation Australia follows a recent independent report into the performance of Horticulture Australia Limited which recommended a change to a new, grower-owned research and development company.

It also follows the commencement of a Senate Inquiry into industry structures and systems governing the imposition of and disbursement of marketing and research and development levies in the agricultural sector.

"The levy system is a critical element in Australia’s research and development model. It is important to ensure it is operating efficiently and effectively. That is why I support the recently commenced Senate inquiry into levies," Minister Joyce said.

"Many of the changes stemming from the HAL independent performance review are foundational and can happen separately to the inquiry. While I do not want to pre-empt any outcome of the inquiry, there is still scope to make additional changes to the horticulture levy system later on down the track."


  • Mr Ridley Bell (NSW) – Mr Bell is a blueberry grower and the owner of Mountain Blue Farms. He is a commercial fruit grower, supplying to retailers and nurseries in both the domestic and international market. Mountain Blue Farms is committed to advancing the development of R&D in terms of breeding and technology.
  • Professor Rob Clark (TAS) – Mr Clark has considerable research and development experience including a previous position as Deputy Chairman of Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation and the Director of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture at the University of Tasmania.
  • Mr David Cliffe (NSW) – Mr Cliffe has broad experience across a number of horticultural industries in his capacity as a nurseryman supplying plant material to the vegetable, deciduous fruit tree and citrus industries.
  • Ms Susan Finger (VIC) – Ms Finger is a Victorian apple orchardist, with a successful history in farmer and industry representation organisations. She is currently a Board member of the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and the immediate past president of the VFF Horticulture Group.
  • Mr David Moon (QLD) – Mr Moon has an understanding of company and marketing management as well as grassroots grower experience as Managing Director of Moonrocks, an onion growing company. Mr Moon is also a member of the Agriculture Industry Advisory Committee.
  • Mr Stephen Morrow (QLD) – Mr Morrow has over 30 years experience in agribusiness across a number of industries as both a CEO and a non-executive Director. Mr Morrow is currently Chairman of Buderim Ginger Ltd, Chairman Priestley's Gourmet Holdings Ltd, and a Director of Pilton Valley Premium Pork Ltd.
  • Mr Mark Napper (NSW) – Mr Napper has 30 years experience in Australian agribusiness, 22 of which have been in horticulture. Mr Napper owns a fruit orchard in Bangalow NSW and currently grows peaches, nectarines and custard apples having previously grown avocadoes, mangoes and mandarins.
  • Mr Selwyn Snell (QLD) – Mr Snell has extensive experience as a senior executive with leading agribusiness and biotechnology enterprises in Australia and internationally. Mr Snell is currently, Chairman of the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations, the Queensland Government’s Horticultural Development Committee and Barawyn Pty Ltd. He is a non-executive Director of Plant Health Australia Limited and member of the APVMA advisory board.
  • Mr Peter Wauchope – (WA), Mr Wauchope is the General Manager of Center West Exports and Sun City Farms. Mr Wauchope has a robust understanding of sales, marketing and export experience given Center West is a major exporter of produce to various countries including Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Middle East, Maldives as well as supplying the domestic market.