AUSVEG, the Peak Industry Body for Australian vegetable and potato growers has hit back at the Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh MP, dismissing comments made on today’s ABC Country Hour as ill-informed.

“Minister Walsh simply has no grasp of how the horticulture research and development system works in Australia,” said AUSVEG Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mulcahy.
“AUSVEG has offered to brief the Minister on a number of occasions on the workings of this system, however, he continues to embarrass himself by exposing his lack of understanding on the matter, and today’s ABC report is another case in point,” said Mr Mulcahy.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
The Minister’s comments were broadcast as part of an ABC report on horticultural levies in Australia, which discussed the investment of levies into research and development to benefit the Australian vegetable industry.
“Minister Walsh must understand the fact that AUSVEG is in no way in control of how the National Vegetable Levy is spent, and that this task falls to Horticulture Australia Limited at the recommendation of a group of highly experienced and knowledgeable members of the Australian horticulture industry,” said Mr Mulcahy.
AUSVEG recently produced a publication entitled There is no such thing as an AUSVEG Levy to correct a misconception which exists in some sectors of Australian horticulture.
“I will ensure that Minister Walsh receives one of these brochures, so that he can see how the industry ensures appropriate governance is implemented with regard to the R&D investment process,” said Mr Mulcahy.
“AUSVEG extends an open invitation to Minister Walsh and his staff for a briefing session to explain the workings of the investment process,” said Mr Mulcahy.
“As an organisation that is involved with agricultural R&D, I am flabbergasted at the lack of understanding of the workings of the National Vegetable Levy shown by members of the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, overseen by Minister Walsh,” said Mr Mulcahy.
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