AUSVEG supports the Federal Government’s goal of boosting the value of Australian agriculture to $100 billion by 2030 and believes the Australian vegetable industry will be a significant contributor towards achieving this goal.

Currently the Australian vegetable and potato industry generates over $5.2 billion annually with a target of reaching $8 billion by 2030.

The vegetable industry is one of strongest performers of Australia’s agriculture industry given its growing value of production, its prominence in retail and market settings across the country and its rising export presence.

Every Australian is a vegetable industry stakeholder but many Australians do not consider the provenance of their food or the work that goes into producing it. The industry must engage with their stakeholders, the Australian community, so that vegetable consumers have a greater comprehension of the industry.

The vegetable industry needs to regain the trust and confidence of consumers. We need to assure consumers that their product is safe to eat, is nutritious, is produced sustainably and we care for our workers.

Too often consumers are presented with sensational views of the industry that do not reflect the expertise and innovation within the sector. At other times, the industry is prominent in the media during floods, drought or other extreme weather events which once again tends to portray a negative image.

The industry needs to regain the trust and confidence of consumers and assure consumers that vegetable products are safe to eat, nutritious, and produced sustainably and ethically.

Vegetables play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of all Australians, but industry and government need to act now to further improve health outcomes by boosting vegetable consumption, which is currently significantly below Australian dietary guidelines. Research has proven that increased vegetable consumption leads to better health outcomes and reduced demand on the health system.

The production and supply of fruits and vegetables is a truly a national industry that employs over 60,000 workers, further supported by tens of thousands of additional jobs through the supply chain to process, transport, and stock produce.

The recommendations outlined in this document will allow the $5 billion sector to not only grow in value, but also help boost the economy and secure the next generation of jobs in our regional and rural communities.

These priorities have been developed through extensive consultation and collaboration with AUSVEG’s state members, as well as growers across the country. Our shared goal is to reach an $8 billion vegetable and potato sector by 2030.

In its pre-budget submission, AUSVEG has outlined 19 recommendations under nine key areas which support our goal of reaching $8 billion by 2030. To achieve this target we need to grow our workforce, increase sustainability, help our communities to thrive, drive value across the supply chain, and build awareness of our sector.


Summary of Recommendations

Engagement Strategy

  1. $14m over 3 years to support the industry to engage with the broader community and stakeholders to increase trust and appreciation of the vegetable sector.

Increasing domestic consumption of vegetables

  1. $20m for a broad-reaching, National behavioural change program over 3 years, that will deliver a substantial and sustained increase in the daily vegetable consumption for Australian kids and families.


  1. Support Australian vegetable growers to grow a reliable and competent workforce, and maintain safe, compliant, sustainable workplaces by:
    • Implementing a National Labour Hire Licensing Scheme to urgently address the mistreatment of workers by rogue operators.
    • Ensuring federal departments responsible for the safety, compliance, and auditing of workplaces are well resourced to undertake workplace investigations.
    • Reengaging under-participating countries in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme and introduce new Asian nations.
    • Increasing the mental health and wellbeing of growers and their communities in rural and regional areas ($20 million)
    • Co-designing a national horticulture industry green card to develop baseline safety knowledge across industry ($6 million)
  2. $3m over 3 years to promote employment opportunities to attract international workers to Australia.


  1. $17.5 million over three years to build youth connections with food and the food industry by:
    1. better developing vocational and tertiary education pathways into horticulture ($10 million).
    2. reinvest in programs to connect children to vegetable farms ($6 million).
    3. encouraging indigenous Australians to pursue a career in horticulture ($1.5 million)


  1. $100 million in Renewable energy grants for growers to drive energy efficiency.
  2. $56 million over three years to build on farm sustainability by:
    • Deliver on-farm workshops to educate farmers about better land management practices ($6 million).
    • Launch water technology grants to reduce, reuse or recycle water ($50 million)


  1. Secure long-term resourcing for Australian biosecurity.
  2. Introduce a biosecurity imports and passenger levy charge.
  3. Increase plant biosecurity agencies capacity and resources to combat incursions such as Varroa mite.
  4. $15 million over three years to:
    • Support urban and peri-urban biosecurity networks to assist pest and disease identification ($10 million).
    • Increase grower awareness and capability to manage pests, weeds, and disease ($5 million).

Competition and Business

  1. Introduce freely available and accurate real-time market price reporting in wholesale markets.
  2. $13 million over two years to:
    • Assist business in the horticultural sector become better equipped to navigate workplace relations and adopt technology to increase compliance ($10 million).
    • Build grower capability to prepare to have ESG (environment, social, governance) related conversations with their banks, buyers and consumers ($3 million).
  3. Make the Food & Grocery Code mandatory and introduce penalties for misconduct.


  1. Allocate $5m to support for international market development initiatives to promote fresh vegetables and potatoes in export markets.
  2. Additional resourcing to support a reinvigorated whole-of-government approach to negotiating horticulture market access and seeking improved market access conditions.


  1. Accelerated tax write off for businesses to build staff accommodation.
  2. $500m over three years interest free loan scheme to develop farm worker accommodation in rural areas.
  3. $150 million to enhance and protect the Australian vegetable supply chain by:
    • Launching a grant scheme to encourage the establishment of production facilities to increase sovereign capability in Australia for essential farm inputs such as fertiliser, agri-chemicals, potash, sustainable packaging etc ($100 million).
    • Create an Agricultural Innovation Fund to support growers to build and modernise on-farm processing, create value-added products, and install environmentally sustainable waste facilities ($50 million).


Flow on benefits of our recommendations

AUSVEG has developed 19 recommendations that will enable the industry to reach its target of $8 billion of retail value by 2030. To reach the goal there are several key elements that underpin the growth required. These key elements are:

  1. Growing Workforce

To reach the goal of $8 billion by 2030 the industry requires more employees. The industry needs to attract additional and retain workers. We need to recruit workers from within Australia and overseas, including educating young Australians on the benefits of a career in horticulture.

  1. Increased sustainability

Economic, social and environmental sustainability are essential to the long-term viability of the vegetable and potato industry. What environmental sustainability looks like varies across the industry and across regions as access to resources varies. Navigating good environmental stewardship is challenging given the diversity of inputs and variables.

  1. Thriving Communities

Thriving rural and regional communities is the cornerstone of a successful vegetable industry. Vibrant communities help attract and retain workers and their families, which in turn brings more services and opportunities.

  1. Driving Value

The vegetable industry has always been a price taker. The increased costs associated with inputs, capital equipment, compliance, natural disasters and labour shortages continue to put growers under financial pressure. For the vegetable industry to achieve long term sustainability growers need to achieve a fair price.

  1. Broaden Engagement

Every Australian is a vegetable industry stakeholder but many Australians do not consider the provenance of their food or the effort that goes in to producing it. Growers need to engage with their stakeholders so that the stakeholders have a deeper comprehension of the industry.

The elements that underpin the industry growth are interlinked and do not operate in silos, often one enabling the other and vice versa. For example attracting workers to the horticultural industry in rural and regional Australia requires thriving communities that offer services and lifestyle to retain and attract workers and their families.