HAL has room to improve and cut costs

John Lawrenson

APAL Chair John Lawrenson says HAL works well but it could provide greater leadership.

To help mould the future of Horticulture Australia Ltd (HAL) and the investment of apple and pear grower levies, APAL has submitted a response to the review of HAL.

In the submission, APAL acknowledges HAL’s constructive work for the industry noting that it works well in addressing industry research and development, and marketing needs.

“While HAL works well, we think it could provide greater leadership and a more business‐like management approach, with its members to raise the standards, skills, and accountability,” says APAL Chair John Lawrenson.

He notes that HAL’s role is difficult because of the varied nature of horticulture, which is unlike some other research and development corporations that support a single industry. This also adds to the cost of delivery.

“Over the last 12 months HAL has implemented a number of effective changes to Industry Advisory Committees to address issues of independence, and has established procedures to ensure conflicts of interest are declared,” says John.  “This is working well in the apple and pear industry.”

APAL’s submission outlines 20 recommendations that aim to help HAL streamline operations, provide a risk-based approach to managing members, spend more time on addressing the issues of a poor performing members, appoint an ombudsman to address complaints, improve representation by levy payers, collect the contact details of all levy payers, form key stakeholder groups, encourage greater cross fertilisation of R, D&E projects across horticulture, and ensure all R&D has extension pathways, with a greater focus on outcomes and not process.

“One of our key recommendations is the development of a horticulture-wide strategic plan with a longer term R&D focus,” says John. “We would also like to see effective peak industry bodies – like APAL – accredited and able to take on their own marketing to reduce HAL’s overall costs of administration and better support industry.”

Download the APAL submission to the HAL review (pdf).


By |March 5th, 2014|News|

About the Author:

John was a Driector (2005-11) then Chair (2011-2014) of APAL.