Levy Payer Workshops on in your area!!


Hort Innovation is holding Levy Payer Workshops to assist with the development of the company’s inaugural Strategic Plan, setting the strategy to 2018.

The purpose of the workshops is to consult with levy payers, the Australian Government and other horticulture stakeholders to shape the company’s strategy.

Come and share your thoughts on the direction of the organisation that invests your levy and Commonwealth matching funds into research, development and marketing programs to the benefit of you and your industry.

Read more information by reading Levy Payer Consultation on Hort Innovation Strategic Plan (this will open in a new window).

Scheduled workshops

Levy Payer Workshop Richmond
21 January 2016
Richmond, NSW

Time: 5.30pm to 9.00pm
Venue: Richmond Golf Club
Address: 34 Bourke Street, Richmond NSW 2753
Onsite parking available
Dinner and drinks provided at the conclusion of the meeting
To register your attendance, please email your name, mobile number and details of any special dietary requirements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Levy Payer Workshop Shepparton
27 January 2016
Shepparton, Vic

Time: 4.30pm to 8.00pm
Venue: The Connection
Address: 7287 Midlands Highway, Shepparton VIC 3630
Onsite parking available
Dinner and drinks provided at the conclusion of the meeting
To register your attendance, please email your name, mobile number and details of any special dietary requirements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




20 January 2016

Country of Origin Labelling - Information Sessions

Have your say !!!!

The Country of Origin Labelling Taskforce invites you to attend an information session to find out more about the the proposed changes to country of origin labelling.


On 4 December 2015, the Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on country of origin labelling was released on the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Consultation hub - https://consult.industry.gov.au/cool-taskforce/cool.

The package of items released also includes documents providing more detail on the Commonwealth Government’s proposed approach to improve country of origin labelling.

The Country of Origin Labelling Taskforce is hosting a series of information sessions in capital cities and regional centres.

The purpose of the information sessions is to provide a greater understanding on the proposed changes.

VENUES - Click here to register.

January 2016


Monday 11 January 2016, 9–11am
Clifton Suites 
Level 13, 60 Margaret Street

Wednesday 13 January 2016, 9-11am
Platinum International
326 James Street

Thursday 14 January 2016, 9-11am
Kendall Room, Novotel Brisbane
200 Creek Street

Tuesday 19 January 2016, 9—11 am 
Best Western
156 Bathurst Street

Wednesday 20 January 2016, 9—11 am 
Hotel Grand Chancellor
29 Cameron Street


Thursday 21 January 2016, 9-11am
Bridge Room 1, Crowne Plaza
1-5 Spencer Street


Friday 22 January 2016, 10-12 midday
Quest Shepparton
177-183 Welsford Street 


Please register your interest in attending these information sessions.


20 January 2016

2015/16 Cherry Season Launch, Saturday 21 November

A Festival of Flavours with Australian Cherries

Australian cherries have hit the market heralding the arrival of summer. There is nothing better than to celebrate with a fun-filled festival of flavours. Prahran Market has partnered with the Victorian Cherry Association to host the inaugural Prahran Market Cherry Festival and welcome the 2015 Victorian cherry season.

“We are thrilled to host the Cherry Festival at Prahran Market. Not only is it a great opportunity to showcase some of our fantastic fruit and veg traders and highlight some of our specialty traders, it’s also the perfect event to kick off the summer months with such a wonderful fruit,” says Christopher Young, Prahran Market General Manager.

“Victorian cherry growers believe that cherries are nature’s perfect summer snack food. They are packed with nutrients to help keep us healthy. Whilst most of us enjoy cherries fresh, they are also superb in summer recipes plus they make a fabulous gift for the festive season. We’d love to see everyone having fun and enjoying cherries this season. With a bumper crop on its way, everyone will benefit. We are delighted to be working with Prahran Market to run the Cherry Festival and look forward to seeing everyone there!” says Alison Jones, President of the Victorian Cherry Association.


  • Date: Saturday 21 November 2015
  • Location: Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra
  • Times: 10.30am to 5.00pm

What’s on offer?

The public are invited to come along and join in on the festival fun. There is something for everyone including the Taste the Cherry Trail, delicious cherry refreshments, cherry cooking shows, activities for the kids, the opportunity to purchase farm fresh cherries (by the cup, bag or box) plus special cherry themed goodies.

Taste the Cherry Trail

Tickets are $25 for the public to enjoy seven tastes from the following offering:

  • ·         Pete ’n’ Rosie’s Deli: Miniature cheese plate with two cheeses and a cherry jam accompaniment
  • ·         Delicatess: Freshly shaved ham off the bone, beautiful French butter and a ‘’cherry ham jam” on a slice of freshly baked             baguette
  • ·         Prahran Seafood: Two freshly shucked oysters with a cherry vinaigrette
  • ·         Garden State Fruit Supply: Cherry snack cup
  • ·         53 Degrees East: Tasting cup of dried sour cherries
  • ·         Rumbles Patisserie: Mini Black Forest Cake
  • ·         Sweet Greek: Handmade Ricotta Cake with Sour Cherry Sauce
  • ·         Cioccolata Lombardo: Chocolate coated cherries
  • ·         Chapel Street Cellars: Cherry beverage.


Tickets are limited so people are urged to book early!

Cherry Refreshments

  • ·         Cherry Ice Cream Three Ways by Fritz Gelato
  • ·         Selection of cherry drinks, including beer and liqueurs by Chapel Street Cellars at the Market
  • ·         Black Forest Cake by Rumbles Patisserie
  • ·         Fresh Cherries with Ossau Iraty by Maker & Monger
  • ·         Selection of cherry sweets by Sweet Greek
  • ·         Choc coated cherries by Cioccolato Lombardo
  • ·         Cherry filled doughnuts by Doughboy Doughnuts
  • ·         Black Forest Eclairs by Bibelot
  • ·         Cherry Milkshakes by Naughty Boy Cafe
  • ·         Cherry Soup by Hungarian Street Food


Fun Cherry Pip Competition

Getting in on the festival fun, Prahran Market fruiterers will go head to head in the Victorian Cherry Association’s annual Cherry Pip Competition in an effort to win the grand prize for one of their customers. One lucky customer will take home a fabulous KitchenAid Stand Mixer valued at more than $800. To be in the Cherry Pip Competition prize draw, customers need to submit their entry forms at the Blanco Kitchen at the Market by COB, Friday 20 November.

Cherry Edible Adventures

Join Prahran Market’s celebrity foodie Alice in Frames for cherry cooking shows and a cherry pitting competition at the Blanco Kitchen from 12.00 to 3.00pm.

Fun for the kids

  • ·         Make your own cherry smoothie with Sweetpea Cuisine.
  • ·         Cherry face painting



Cherry Industry

  • ·         The Australian Cherry Season is here and lasts only 100 days.
  • ·         Australian cherries are produced in six states – Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia             and Queensland.
  • ·         There are six cherry growing regions in Victoria – Yarra Valley & Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Upper Goulburn Valley,             Northeast Victoria, Macedon Ranges and the Victorian High Country – see Victorian Cherry Harvest Trail below for                       orchards offering farm gate sales and ‘pick your own cherries’.
  • ·         The Victorian Cherry Season extends from November to February with the peak supply commencing in November.
  • ·         Australia produces an average of 12,000 tonnes of cherries annually.
  • ·         Cherry prices vary according to the time of the season, size and quality of fruit.
  • ·         Approximately 80 percent of Australian cherries are consumed on the domestic market and 20 percent are exported.


Seasonal availability

The Victorian cherry season begins in most areas about the first or second week of November and continues through until mid-January. Peak season is in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Cherry varieties

Cherries are available from November to February but the different varieties are harvested at different times, so what you see in the shops in November will be different to what you see in January. Some varieties are rich and sweet, others are mild and some are slightly tart or sour but they are all delicious!Merchant, Bing, Supreme, Empress, Stella, Lapin, Sweetheart and Van are the main cherry varieties grown in Victoria.

Selecting cherries

Choose cherries with stems attached. Look for cherries that are plump, firm, bright and shiny with fresh green stems. The colour of cherries will vary according to variety. Avoid cherries that are soft and bruised or small and hard.

Storing cherries

Once picked, cherries cease to ripen, so should be consumed within four days of purchase and they last longer with the stem attached. Store cherries, loosely packed, in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge. Cherries can also be frozen, pitted, for up to six months.

Preparing cherries

Rinse cherries immediately before consuming. Fresh cherries can be served fresh intact with stones. However, the stones should be removed before use in cooking – this helps prevent a broken tooth when chomped on by an unsuspecting diner! To remove the stones use a cherry pitter or, using a small sharp knife, cut a slit in one side of the cherry then remove the stone. Most cherries are very juicy, so consider pitting them inside a plastic bag to avoid stains.

Uses and recipes

·         The most popular of all is eating fresh - cherries are the healthy summer snack.

·         Treat yourself – cherries are a guilt-free indulgence.

·         You’ll find a variety of delicious cherry recipes including starters, main meals, salads, desserts and drinks at www.australiancherries.com.au. Please let us know if you require high-resolution images.

Cherries for our health

·         Emerging studies suggest phytonutrients found in cherries may have the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes,           and even alleviate gout and arthritis pain.

·         Cherries are a power-packed food loaded with anthocyanins – the antioxidants responsible for their deep red colour.

·         Eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as cherries, may help reduce and neutralise free radicals and slow the signs of skin                ageing.

·         Cherries provide a good source of Vitamin C and a source of potassium and fibre.

·         Cherries are a guilt-free indulgence with only 250 kilojoules (60 calories) per 100 grams, with no fat or cholesterol.

·         A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sour cherries ranked 14 in the top 50 foods for                   highest antioxidant content per serve – and are among well-known ‘superfoods’ such as red wine, berries and dark                           chocolate.

·         Data from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Ageing at Tufts University confirmed sour cherries contained                   similar or higher amounts of antioxidants compared to blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries.

Refs: Please see the Australian Cherry Report

Victorian Cherry Harvest Trail

Make visiting a cherry orchard a must this summer, wether you make a special trip or drop into an orchard when visiting friends or family or holidaying nearby. You can purchase cherries at all the orchards below and you can even pick your own cherries at some.

The following orchards are listed on the Victorian Cherry Harvest Trail:

·         Koala Country Orchards, 6547 Maroondah Hwy, Yark – farm gate sales

·         Johnson Brothers, 605 Beenak Road, Seville – farm gate sales

·         Wandin Valley Farms, 75 Wellington Road, Wandin North – farm gate sales

·         CherryHill Orchards, 474 Queens Road, Wandin – pick your own cherries plus farm gate sales

·         Big Fella Orchards, 38 Boundary Rd, Coldstream– pick your own cherries plus farm gate sales

·         Chappies, 21 Parker Road, Silvan – pick your own cherries plus farm gate sales

·         Blue Hills Berries & Cherries, 27 Parker Road, Silvan – pick your own cherries plus farm gate sales

·         Oaksun Cherries, 77 Monbulk-Seville Road, Wandin East – farm gate sales

·         Mt Gisborne Cherries at 425 Mt. Gisborne Road, Gisborne – farm gate sales

·         Red Hill Cherry farm at 61-69 Prossors Lane, Red Hill – pick your own cherries plus farm gate sales

·         Sinclair Orchards at 1 Stanley Road, Stanley – farm gate sales

For more information

Please contact Vikki Leng, Marketing Consultant, Victorian Cherry Association M: 0411 647 275 and

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.







18 November 2015

Workshops for AGVET Chemicals

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is holding a series of stakeholder workshop to discuss agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines (agvet chemicals) regulation reform and we are keen to maximise industry participation.

From March to August 2015, we spoke to chemical manufacturers, chemical users, governments and community members about a number of reform ideas. The workshops represent the next step in discussions with stakeholders.

The workshops will be a chance to provide:

•             an update the reform process so far and next steps

•            a  report on what we have heard from stakeholders on the reform ideas

•             more details on the proposed reforms, and

•             an open forum for discussion.

The focus of the workshops will be a series of discussion papers that provide further details on each of the proposed reform measures.

There is online registration form on the website to confirm attendance at one of the following workshops:

BRISBANE 2 NOVEMBER 2015 Cliftons Brisbane, Level 3, 288 Edward Street, Brisbane
SYDNEY 9 NOVEMBER 2015 Cliftons Sydney, Level 13, 60 Margaret Street, Sydney
MELBOURNE 13 NOVEMBER 2015 Cliftons Melbourne, Level 1, 440 Collins Street, Melbourne
PERTH 23 NOVEMBER 2015 Cliftons Perth, Parmelia House, Ground Floor, 191 St George’s Terrace, Perth

The workshops will start at 10am and finish at 4.30pm.

The workshops will be fully catered including morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Please indicate any dietary requirements when you register.



11 November 2015


Hawaiian fruit fly expert, Dr Roger Vargus, and a group of fruit fly specialists, researchers and agronomists, will shortly embark on a national roadshow to meet with Australian horticulture growers. The roadshow, facilitated by Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation), aims to assist growers with the management of fruit flies in today’s environment, and build confidence amongst growers in combating fruit flies without the use of cover-sprays (organophosphates).

Special guest, Dr Vargus, from the United States Department of Agriculture, will present at each meeting about relevant overseas research in fruit fly and Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Dr Vargus has 33 years’ experience in insect ecology, biological control, and IPM. He successfully coordinated the Hawaii Fruit Fly Area-Wide Management (AWM) program that received seven major awards for IPM excellence. The implementation of the nationally recognised AWM program in many cases reduced the use of organophosphates by 75–90% for fruit fly control in Hawaii. Dr Vargus was also involved with further technology transfer and training with Thailand, China, Taiwan, French Polynesia, Guam, Northern Marianas, Fiji and various western African countries.

Presentations throughout the roadshow will also include the current Hort Innovation program for fruit fly, the Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) plus program, and the AWM program in the eastern states of Australia and Western Australia.

The roadshow’s first stop will be in Perth Hills, Western Australia on Monday 30 November, and will continue into Bunbury in Western Australia, Waikerie in South Australia, Mildura, Swan Hill and Tatura in Victoria, Griffith and Young in New South Wales, and Bundaberg, Bowen and Mareeba in QueenslanD.

The three locations in Victoria are:

DATE: Wednesday, 2 December  2015
TIME: 5.30pm to 7.30pm
LOCATION: DPI Centre Mildura, Corner Eleventh Street and Koorlong Avenue, Irymple VIC 3498

Swan Hill
DATE: Thursday, 3 December  2015
TIME: 1.00pm to 3.00pm
LOCATION: IBIS Styles Swan Hill Resort, 405 - 415 Campbell Street, Swan Hill VIC 3585 

DATE: Friday, 4 December 2015
TIME: 11.00am to 1.00pm
LOCATION: DEDJTR Tatura, 255 Ferguson Road, Tatura VIC 3616 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register your interest by Tuesday, 25 November 2015.


11 November 2015

Have your say about changes to the Hort Award!!!

Fair Work Commission – Modern Awards Update

Last week the NFF filed its claim to reduce the 3 hour minimum engagement in the dairy industry to 2 hours, to better align industry practices with the Pastoral Award. The claim was accompanied by a number of witness statements showing how the 3 hour limitation restricts flexibility and limits employment options, particularly for students and those with caring responsibilities. A copy of the NFF submission and witness statements can be found here.


At the same time, the ACTU has made a claim to increase the minimum engagement in all awards to 4 hours. The two claims will be dealt with together, along with a series of other claims (casuals electing to convert to permanent employment, overtime for casuals under the Horticulture Award and new restrictions on part-time and casual employment sought by the National Union of Workers). The Australian Workers Union and the National Union of Workers have both put in submissions calling for the Commission to clarify the right of overtime for casuals as they say the current Horticulture Award is not clear about whether overtime for casuals is applicable.  The NFF will defend the claim on the basis that the current approach where casuals are not entitled to overtime is deliberate, fair, relevant and appropriate to the horticulture industry. Granting the claim will have a major impact on the horticulture industry and NFF and Voice of Horticulture are working together to engage a Barrister to represent the industry and defend the claims. We will be looking to members to provide evidence to support our defence of the claim over coming months. Any members who are interested in supporting the NFF case are encouraged to spent some time putting pen to paper to answer one or more of the following questions and providing the responses back to Lis at the VFF:


For employers

1.       Describe the industry you work in

2.       Describe your business in general terms – what do you grow, how long have you been doing it, how many staff (full time, part-time, casual), staffing peaks and lows over the year and reasons why, who you sell your produce to ie our business supplies apples to a major Australian supermarket chain.

3.       Describe a typical working week in the low season in as much detail as you can – remember, Fair Work Commissioners mostly don’t understand the horticulture industry and we need to paint them a picture.

4.       Describe a typical working week in the high season (as above).

5.       Explain the commercial and seasonal pressures on your business and how these vary over the year eg. we have fixed price contracts and can’t increase the price of our produce; cashflow is tight; if we don’t get the crop off in the harvest X happens; we are competing with X; the weather can have a major impact etc.

6.       Describe how you manage labour needs over the year. How do you find staff and how hard is it in your area; what sort of people tend to apply for the work you have on offer; how many hours are worked in a typical day/week in peak season; what type of work / work flexibility do your employees want?  

7.       Explain why part-time and casual employment is important to your business.

8.       What will you do if the rules change and you have to pay overtime to casuals?

9.       If you made no rostering changes, how much would this cost your business in overall terms?

10.   What will you do if a new 4 hour minimum engagement rule comes in? Did you previously have a minimum engagement and what did this mean for your business and your staff?

For employees

Are any of your employees interested in making a statement about how some of these changes would affect them? Here are some questions they might like to answer.

11.   Why do you work for this business?

12.   What made you apply for the work?

13.   What hours do you work?

14.   Are you happy with your current hours of work?

15.   How does your work fit in with your other commitments (school, second job, study, caring etc.)

16.   How would you feel if your employer made changes to the business so that you got less hours, or had to stay for longer even if there was no work to do?

17.   How would this affect you?


As the modern award review progresses, it is becoming clear that the process will establish a series of test cases on claims being made. That is, a claim made about only a few awards can easily result in a new model term that applies to all awards. This is despite there being a lack of evidence in relation to a particular issue to demonstrate that the change is warranted.


For example, the Horticulture Award and Wine Industry Award have now been varied to include an obligation to pay accident make-up pay for the first 26 weeks of workers compensation. The NFF opposed these claims, because not a single piece of evidence was led in the proceedings about the need for accident pay in the agriculture sector. Despite this, the Commission granted the claims. The draft determination varying the Horticulture Award can be found here.


Hearings continue in relation to whether annual leave and time off in lieu of overtime terms should be varied in all awards or just those that were initially subject to a claim. The NFF is seeking to exclude the agricultural awards from new model terms, which are less flexible and more prescriptive than current arrangements. Further hearings are scheduled in October and December to resolve the matters.


For more information about the modern award review, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

06 November 2015
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