Have your say!
Calling all Custard Apple Growers – have your say on a proposed change to how your levy funds are invested.
If you grow and sell custard apples into wholesale supply chains, you will be paying a levy of 40 cents/tray or carton (or $50 per tonne for bulk supply). Such arrangements have been in place since 1996 and 27 cents per tray or carton ($34/tonne) is matched by the Australian Government and invested in an R&D Fund managed by Hort Innovation. The balance of the levy has been going to a Marketing Fund which is not matched by government co-investment.
A proposal to maintain the current levy at 40 cents per tray or carton ($50/tonne bulk) but redirect the marketing component into the R&D Fund is under consideration. This is driven by two issues, namely:=
- inadequate R&D funds to address priority needs and opportunities and;
- concerns over a sustained period that the marketing investments have not been effective in a small industry such as custard apples. An additional benefit to the industry of this change would be that all of the grower levy contribution would be eligible for co-contributions from the Australian Government.
A detailed proposal has been prepared addressing the drivers and benefits of this proposed change. A formal secret vote is required from the levy-paying community of growers. The proposal together with the results of this formal vote are then put before the Federal Minister of Agriculture for a decision.
All levy payers are eligible to vote on this proposal, not just members of Custard Apples Australia (CAA). There will be two voting opportunities:
- A secret ballot process will be facilitated at the Annual General Meeting of CAA. So if you are planning to attend that meeting at Beerwah on 8th Feb 2024 you can cast your secret vote in person.
- Alternatively, you can email or phone the CAA and request a copy of the full proposal and a ballot paper for voting to be returned by email or post by 4th March 2024. The entire voting process will be confidential and supervised by an independent “Returning Officer” (a solicitor) and be open to independent auditing.
To obtain the Proposal to alter the custard apple levy distribution (whilst NOT changing the total levy), please contact CAA at . If you prefer, a phone call to Brian Keating at 0419 651 758 will enable you to be sent the proposal and voting ballot by whatever means you prefer.