The Peak Industry Body for Australian vegetable growers has dismissed statements made by Mick Keogh of the Australian Farm Institute as naïve. Mr Keogh claimed on ABC radio yesterday that AUSVEG, among others, is a farm advocacy group which appears to be “struggling with…their capacity to influence policy”.

“These statements about AUSVEG are baseless and naïve, as over the past five years, the organisation has been responsible for bringing about a number of both large and smaller wins for the 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers that we represent,” said AUSVEG Spokesperson Hugh Gurney.

“Mr Keogh’s statements about AUSVEG appearing to lack the capacity to influence policy are unfounded, particularly when the report which he has authored shows that AUSVEG is in fact perceived to have one of the highest levels of influence in the nation for farmers’ advocacy groups,” said Mr Gurney.

The March report from the Australian Farm Institute indicates that in terms of perceived effectiveness in achieving policy change, AUSVEG ranks third out of 16, behind the National Farmers Federation and Cotton Australia.

In 2012, the former National Political Editor of The Weekly Times stated that “AUSVEG is considered in Canberra to be one of the nation’s most powerful agri-lobby groups.”

“If you want to look at AUSVEG’s track record of influencing policy, look no further than New Zealand’s market access request to export diseased potatoes to Australia, which three years ago appeared to be imminent before AUSVEG took up the fight.” 

“AUSVEG made representations to policy makers about the biosecurity risk that New Zealand potatoes presented to our industry, and as a result of these representations, a Senate Inquiry was initiated. To this day, New Zealand’s market access request has not been finalised,” said Mr Gurney.

The report shows that AUSVEG’s perceived effectiveness is ranked ahead of the bodies which represent some of the biggest industries in Australian agriculture, such as grain and cattle.

“AUSVEG has also been incredibly successful in raising awareness about origins of food with consumers who now demand locally grown product. To meet this demand from consumers, both major grocery retailers are now sourcing 100 per cent of their Select and Smart Buy frozen vegetables from Australian growers.”

“AUSVEG is an active participant in the parliamentary consultation process and is constantly involved in developing policy for the vegetable industry,” said Mr Gurney.

“AUSVEG is proud to represent Australian vegetable growers and fights tirelessly for their interests, and in the past five years has a track record of initiating meaningful change that speaks for itself,” said Mr Gurney.


MEDIA CONTACT: Hugh Gurney, Spokesperson, AUSVEG.
Phone: (03) 9882 0277 Mobile: 0410 047 432 E-mail: