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Hort Innovation The company Corporate governance Reset and Refresh: Roles, responsibilities and the advice mechanism

Reset and Refresh: Roles, responsibilities and the advice mechanism

Hort Innovation is committed to ensuring our investments meet the needs and priorities of the horticulture industry and growers.  To this end, Hort Innovation has undertaken a significant initiative to improve the way we consult and gain advice from industry as well as define the roles and responsibilities of Hort Innovation and commodity Peak Industry Bodies.

In 2022/23, this partnership approach involved collaboration between Hort Innovation and commodity Peak Industry Bodies on advice mechanisms and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs).

Advice mechanisms

A co-design process has taken place between Hort Innovation and each commodity Peak Industry Body to develop an advice mechanism that is fit-for-purpose for industry while also meeting Hort Innovation’s governance requirements.

Overall, 24 industries decided to refresh their current Strategic Investment Advisory Panel mechanism, and 13 industries decided to create a new advice mechanism to  suit their industry needs.

Each advice mechanism has been designed to meet the following principles:

  • Clearly defined governance arrangements.
  • Engagement and consultation with a wide range of Levy payers.
  • Identification of RD&E priorities using a matrix that takes into consideration relevant strategic industry statements.
  • Consideration of a balanced portfolio of RD&E.
  • Allowance for collaboration across industries where the same RD&E priorities have been identified.
  • Utilisation of timely, accurate financial information regarding levies.
  • Provision of advice in a timely, professional and cost-effective manner.
  • Communication methods for RD&E priorities back to levy payers
  • Co-ownership of the refreshed Advice Mechanism between PIBs and Hort Innovation.

Moving forward, Hort Innovation will conduct pulse checks of the advisory models to ensure each mechanism remains relevant and fit-for-purpose.

Advice panel members

Implementation of the new advisory mechanism are in now progress—including an Expressions of Interest (EOI) process to call for and appoint new panel members representing industry.

Memorandums of Understanding

Memorandums of Understanding for each industry have been developed to provide clarity regarding the commitments of Hort Innovation and the relevant commodity Peak Industry Body in obtaining industry advice. This initiative, together with implementing the new advice mechanisms, will continue into 2023/24.

SIAP Portal

Based on feedback from industry, and as part of Hort Innovation’s efforts to improve communication, transparency and tracking of industry advice, in 2022/23 Hort Innovation launched the ‘SIAP Portal’. The SIAP Portal has a landing page that members can access at any time that will house all the relevant documentation needed to be an active participant in the advisory process.



In July 2021, Hort Innovation developed an industry discussion paper distributed to Peak Industry Bodies (PIBs) and other stakeholders, intended as pre-work for a series of three workshops. A copy of the discussion paper can be found here.

The key areas and principles the paper identified as necessary to achieving executional excellence were:

  • The need for clearer definitions of roles and responsibilities of Hort Innovation and PIBs
  • A review of the current Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) advice mechanism and more formal recognition of the role of PIBs in providing advice to Hort Innovation and consultation with levy payers.

Due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation, those workshops were postponed to 2022. Instead, Hort Innovation engaged Seftons to conduct up to 50 one-on-one interviews with PIBs, industry and government stakeholders and Hort Innovation teams. The interviews were an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback and views on the draft definitions of roles and responsibilities, plus the current and alternative models for the advice mechanism, which were set out in the industry discussion paper.

Feedback from the interviews was captured in an insights report titled "Reset and Refresh: Roles, responsibilities and the advice mechanism" (Report). That report was distributed to industry stakeholders on November 24, 2021.

Working Group

In response to feedback requesting collaborative engagement and to ensure the process is representative of all of industry, Hort Innovation established a Working Group made up of representatives from PIBs, industry, DAWE, and Hort Innovation. Hort Innovation called for 'expressions of interest' for four industry representatives to be part of that Working Group. The expression of interest and evaluation process was managed by Seftons.

The membership of the working group is:

  • Jolyon Burnett, CEO, Australian Macadamia Society
  • Joanna Cave, CEO, Greenlife Industry Australia
  • Rachel MacKenzie, Executive Director, Berries Australia
  • Ross Skinner, Former CEO, Almond Board of Australia
  • Michael Nixon, Director, Hort Innovation
  • Robert Clark AM, Director, Hort Innovation
  • Brett Fifield, CEO, Hort Innovation
  • Anthony Kachenko, GM Stakeholder Experience, Hort Innovation
  • Fiona Hill-Stein, Director, Horticulture Policy, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

The Working Group operates under a Terms of Reference, available here.

Summaries of Working Group meetings are available here:

Industry Workshops

These were held in Brisbane (Brisbane Airport Conference Centre) on 14 June 2022 and Melbourne (Park Royal, Tullamarine Airport) on 15 June 2022.

The Industry Workshop Agenda and Framework can be viewed here:

A Workshop Summary Report detailing next steps is available here.

In July 2022, Hort Innovation commenced Phase 2 of the Reset and Refresh: Roles, responsibilities and the advice mechanism as identified in the Workshop Report. This included retaining the Working Group to oversee this phase of activity.

As a key component of Phase 2, Hort Innovation had discussions with most PIBs on their refreshed advisory mechanism. Five PIBs in the advanced stages of negotiation presented their proposed models at the above mentioned workshops on 4 and 5 October 2022.

Hort Innovation then commenced formally agreeing and implementing the first tranche of refreshed advisory mechanisms.

Advice mechanism options workshop update

As part of the ongoing Reset and Refresh process, Hort Innovation delivered two online workshops on 4 and 5 October 2022. Five industries presented their preferred models for the delivery of R&D advice, to over 85 people, including 55 industry representatives.

Hort Innovation acknowledges the following presenters for outlining their proposed advice mechanism models and addressing questions from workshop attendees:

  • Clare Hamilton-Bate, CEO of the Australian Macadamia Society
  • Michael Coote, CEO of AUSVEG
  • Trevor Ranford, Executive Officer of Pistachio Growers Association
  • Peter Long, Executive Officer of Australian Sweetpotato Growers
  • Tim Jackson, CEO of the Almond Board of Australia.

A copy of the workshop presentations is available here and a summary report from the workshops is available here.

The five industry models showed different ways to approach three types of advice mechanisms:

  1. Updated Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP)
  2. Industry workshop
  3. Commodity PIB-initiated advisory panel or committee.

Industries were encouraged to contact Hort Innovation, before 19 October 2022, to outline their preferred advice mechanism model. PIBs do not need to present a fully formed model, the intention is for industry and Hort Innovation to work together to develop the advice mechanism collaboratively once the preferred pathway is indicated.

The third phase of this initiative has seen the development of fit for purpose advice mechanisms for each industry, as well as the accompanying Memorandums of Understanding that outline the roles and responsibilities of Hort Innovation and PIBs.