The first independent study on the involvement of managed investment schemes (MIS) has been released by Horticulture Australia. The report was commissioned to provide data and analysis of MIS in Australian horticulture. Information presented in the report suggests that MIS have had an important positive impact on the horticulture industries in which they participated and on the Australian economy as a whole. These benefits include, the creation of jobs, the provision of greater access to technology, larger investments in R&D and innovation, more sustainable farm practices, skill development and knowledge transfer. While the report found that the MIS have made positive contributions to many horticulture industries, there have also been some negative impacts. In particular, increased demand by MIS projects may have increased the prices of inputs, such as water, capital and services at a local level. The report stated that technically speaking MIS do not have any tax advantage over other forms of farming enterprise. Both MIS and traditional farmers can deduct non capital expenses from their taxable income and are subject to the same rules under the Income Tax Assessment Act. However, independent consultant Econtech Pty Ltd found that MIS do have a commercial advantage due to their ability to attract capital and the depth of resources available to them. The report concluded that MIS have had both positive and negative impacts on the existing horticulture industry. The report said that if tax treatment for MIS growers changed in line with the Federal Government announcement, that this would likely lead to a substantial decline in the level of new MIS investment in horticulture. However, since the changes would not affect existing MIS, farmers would still compete with current horticultural MIS for resources. With the completion of the report, AIMA and HAL are considering conducting a follow up study to investigate synergies between MIS companies and traditional farmers so that benefits and risks are shared and managed to strengthen the global position of Australian horticulture. A steering committee consisting of horticultural industry representatives, including ABA CEO Julie Haslett, and MIS representatives was appointed to oversee the independent review. A copy of the full report is available to download from the HAL website at www.horticulture.com.au/news/ This project was facilitated by HAL in partnership with industry. It was funded by voluntary contributions from Agriculture Investment Managers of Australia. The Australian Government provides matched funding for all HAL’s R&D activities. MIS Involvement in Horticulture
DAFF Secretary Learns about the Almond Industry
Pictured at CSIRO in Merbein. L to R: Peter Weir - Pista- chio Growers Association Chairman, DAFF Secretary - Dr Conall O’Connell, ABA CEO - Julie Haslett and HAL Chair- man - Dr Nigel Steele-Scott. New DAFF Secretary, Dr Conall O’Connell was presented with an overview of the Australian Almond Industry during a recent visit to Mildura hosted by Horticulture Australia Limited. During this presentation, Julie Haslett emphasised the key issues currently facing our industry, including water
and pollination availability, market access and development and industry capacity building.
Dr Connell showed keen interest in the industry with many questions focussing on the industry’s current rate of expansion.
Dr was announced by Prime Minister John Howard as the new DAFF Secretary in May this year. Dr O’Connall was the Deputy Secretary in the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources (DEW) where he was responsible for overseeing Conall O’Connell
policies and programmes relating to natural resource management, biodiversity, consrevation, the marine environment and protected areas. From 1991 till joining DEW Dr O’Connell held a number of high level positions in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, including responsibility for Federal-State relations, primary industries and environmental policy. Dr O’Connell has a PhD and a Bachelor of Arts from the Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.