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Fund management

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

What is the onion levy?

The grower-raised statutory onion R&D levy is set at $2.9 per tonne. The marketing levy is set at $1 per tonne.

These levies are 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 lev – together with Australian Government funds in the case of R&D – into strategic R&D and marketing initiatives.

You can find full details on the levy rates, plus information on how to lodge a return and make a payment with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, on the government website here.

Where do investment ideas come from?

Great investments start with great ideas, so Hort Innovation encourages all growers, industry participants and the research community to share their thoughts and recommendations through the upcoming Strategic Investment  Plan (SIP) consultation process. During the year, issues may emerge that haven’t been captured from the extensive SIP development process so there will still be opportunities to submit ideas for investments.

These opportunities are:

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

How are levy decisions made?

Investments specific to the Hort Innovation Onion Fund are guided by the industry’s SIP. In 2021 a new SIP is being produced for each levy-paying industry. The new SIP will have a five-year life span (FY 2021/22 -FY 2025/26) and is being developed through close consultation with growers, industry participants and the research community. It will outline key industry priorities for investment.

When the new SIP is finalised, an Annual Investment Plan (AIP) will be developed and reviewed annually for the remaining years of the SIP – this will be approved by Hort Innovation with valuable input from the Strategic Investment Advisory Panels (SIAPs), industry bodies and key stakeholders before prioritisation. 

The SIP and AIP documents will be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the Almond SIAP, which is made up of growers and other industry representatives and plays a key role in prioritising necessary investments.

Using the SIP as a guide, the SIAP will prioritise AIP investments and ideas submitted by growers, industry participants and delivery partners during prioritisation meetings. Details of the SIAP panelists and the current AIP can be found further down this page. 

What happens next?

The SIAPs recommendations will be used by Hort Innovation to work suitable ideas into project proposals. The proposals are then made public for potential delivery partners to submit responses. Current opportunities are always listed on the Partnership opportunities, in the delivery partners section of this website.

At the end of the process, the responses are assessed, often with the assistance of industry (Evaluation Panel process), and the best delivery partner for the work is chosen. A contract is then issued, and the work begins.

How can I keep track of investments?

Investments in the Hort Innovation Onion Fund are detailed in the Your investments page of this Onion 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 Australian onion industry communications (VN18003), also provides regular information on levy-funded activity.

Financial documents

Financial operating statement
July to June 2019/20

Onion Fund consultation

To gain industry insights for strategic levy investments for the Hort Innovation Onion Fund, we will widely consult with growers, industry participants and the research community through the SIP consultation process.

See below a list of SIAP meetings with summaries and the panelists.

Panel meetings and summaries






April 20, 2016

Melbourne, VIC



September 29, 2016

Melbourne, VIC



July 10, 2017

Melbourne, VIC



March 14, 2018

Melbourne, VIC



October 17, 2018

Devonport, TAS



April 2, 2019

Melbourne, 2019



July 15 and 16, 2020



The panel 




Peter Shadbolt

Onions Australia


Dr Richard Jones

Rathlyn Associates


Yvonne Smith

Bowhill Produce


Kees Versteeg



Steve Rathjen

Delta Produce


Tim Groom

Onions Australia


Cath Botta


View biography

Fund Annual Report 2019/20
Fund Annual Report 2019/20
Strategic Investment Plan
Strategic Investment Plan
SIP – At a glance
SIP – At a glance