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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, and Hort Innovation encourages all growers and other industry participants to share their thoughts and suggestions for the work they want to see.

Ideas can be submitted any time via Hort Innovation’s investment idea form.

How are levy decisions made?

Investments specific to the Hort Innovation Onion Fund are guided by the industry’s Strategic Investment Plan (SIP). The SIP was developed through close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders, and outlines key industry priorities for investment.

The SIP document is used like a ‘roadmap’ by the onion Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP), which is a panel made up of growers and other industry representatives that has a key role to play in the investment process.

The SIAP discusses investment ideas at consultation meetings, with the SIP guiding them, in order to provide advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments. Details of the SIAP panellists and summaries of the SIAP’s meetings can be found further down this page.

What happens next?

The SIAP’s advice is 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 page, in the delivery partners section of this website.

At the end of the process the responses are assessed, often with the assistance of industry, 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 December 2019/20

Onion Fund consultation

To gain industry insights for strategic levy investments for the Hort Innovation Onion Fund, we consult with growers through the fund's Strategic Investment Advisory Panel

The Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) has two main objectives: to give transparent and robust investment advice; and to ensure investments align to industry priorities by aligning investments to the fund's Strategic Investment Plan. 

See below the SIAP meetings with summaries and the panellists.


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 2017/18
Fund Annual Report 2017/18
Strategic Investment Plan
Strategic Investment Plan
SIP – At a glance
SIP – At a glance