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Fund management

At Hort Innovation it’s our job to work with industry to invest the blueberry voluntary levy and Australian Government contributions into initiatives to help growers be as productive and profitable as possible, through the Hort Innovation Blueberry Fund.

What is the voluntary blueberry levy?

The blueberry industry has a voluntary levy of which a proportion (currently set at 2.2 cents per kilogram) is allocated to a collective industry fund (CIF). These funds attract Australian Government contributions for investment in industry R&D programs that are managed by Hort Innovation.

This levy is collected by the Australian Government and then entrusted to Hort Innovation. It is then Hort Innovation’s responsibility to work with industry to invest the levies – together with Australian Government funds in the case of R&D – into strategic R&D initiatives.

How are levy investment decisions made?

Investments specific to the Hort Innovation Blueberry Fund are guided by the industry’s Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) and Annual Investment Plan (AIP). SIPs provide an overarching roadmap for industry to follow, and AIPs detail how levy dollars will be spent each year to achieve industry goals.

To learn more about how Hort Innovation makes investment decisions, watch the video below or scroll down for more information.

What is the berry Strategic Investment Plan?

The berry SIP 2022-2026 provides a roadmap to guide Hort Innovation’s investment of the berry sector’s levy and Australian Government contributions, ensuring investment decisions are aligned with priorities of the berry industries.

The berry SIP takes a collective approach, combining blueberry, raspberry and blackberry, and strawberry industries for investment efficiencies and to benefit from the similarities of the three industries.

The berry SIP details the industry’s strategic goals centred around four outcome areas: demand creation; industry supply, productivity and sustainability; extension and capability; and business insights. Under each of those outcomes, there are industry-specific strategies and key performance indicators that provide guidance on how the blueberry industry will work towards achieving the outcomes.

What is the berry Annual Investment Plan?

While the berry SIP provides an oversight of investment over the next five years, the berry AIP explains how levy funds are going to be invested over a twelve-month period.

AIPs are developed each year by Hort Innovation, informed by the SIP and industry consultation, and then discussed with the industry SIAP for feedback and prioritisation. Investment decisions will be guided by the industry SIP and prioritised based on potential industry impact, as well as availability of levy funds. 

The AIP provides detailed information on:

  • Funding availability
  • How the berry industries are investing against their SIP outcomes
  • Details on current investments across R&D and marketing.

The AIP will be published on this page each year and industry stakeholders will be notified via Hort Innovation’s established communication channels. Download the 2021/22 Berry Annual Investment Plan here.

Where do investment ideas come from?

There are many avenues that investment ideas come through – such as growers, delivery partners, previous projects, research networks, industry bodies, regional extension plans, and extension personnel. Before any ideas are progressed, Hort Innovation will investigate whether investment aligns with the SIP and whether investment is needed in this area.

Growers are invited to submit their ideas any time at Hort Innovation’s investment idea form or by contacting a Hort Innovation employee directly. Industry participants and delivery partners can contact a Hort Innovation employee directly if they have an idea outside of the SIP consultation process. 

Any submission or suggestion will be reviewed by Hort Innovation to ensure it aligns with industry needs as identified in the SIP. 

How are investments prioritised?

To gain industry insights for strategic levy investments, Hort Innovation consults with growers through the berry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP).

Hort Innovation develops draft investment recommendations based on investment ideas that are aligned to the berry SIP. Each recommendation includes high-level information on the aims of the project, outcomes, deliverables and budget.

The recommendations are then taken to the relevant advisory panel for feedback and prioritisation based on potential impact and available funding. Details of projects that will be progressing are then featured in the AIP.

The berry SIAP consists of industry supply-chain stakeholders, most of whom are levy-paying growers. Panels also include industry representative body representation and, where applicable, a lead agency representative from within the National Horticulture Research Network.

The SIAP is in place to discuss investment ideas, in order to provide advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments. The advice they give is guided by the industry's SIP.

The SIAP provides a vital link between meeting the priorities of industry and helping Hort Innovation to make decisions on how, where and when investments need to be made.

How are investments progressed?

After the investment has been prioritised, it’s then up to Hort Innovation to get the project up and running. This involves a tender process where the best delivery partner is chosen to undertake the project. Each delivery partner needs to submit regular milestones that report on their progress and at the end of each investment, a final report is produced that is made available to industry on what the project has achieved.

How to keep track of investments

Investments in the Hort Innovation Blueberry Fund are detailed in the Your investments page of this Blueberry Fund section of Hort Innovation’s website. Resources that are produced by the projects – such as fact sheets and guides – are also available through the Research reports and more page.

Hort Innovation also sends alerts about project updates to its members. Paying a levy doesn’t automatically make you a Hort Innovation member, but signing up is free here.

The levy-funded communications program, run through the investment Facilitating the development of the Australian berry industries (MT18020), also provides regular information on levy-funded activity.

Financial documents

Financial operating statement
July to June 2020/21

SIAP details

The panel

Name

Organisation

Location

Rachel Mackenzie

Australian Blueberry Growers Association Incorporated

QLD

Greg Murdoch

Costa Group

NSW

Melinda Simpson

NSW DPI IDO Blueberries

NSW

Nicholas Miall

Perfection Fresh Australia

NSW

Tyler Scofield

Driscoll's Australia

NSW

Kamaldeep Singh Clair

Mountain Blue Farms

NSW

Alison Kelly

Chair

View biography

Fund Annual Report 2020/21
Publication
Fund Annual Report 2020/21
Strategic Investment Plan
Publication
Strategic Investment Plan
SIP – At a glance
Publication
SIP – At a glance