AUSVEG and Onions Australia, which represent the interests of Australian vegetable, potato and onion growers, are pleased to announce a strategic merger that will see the onion industry joining with AUSVEG. The move will expand AUSVEG’s representative footprint and provide it with a stronger voice to better advocate on behalf of vegetable, potato and onion growers.
The union, a result of thorough industry consultation and a resounding vote from Onions Australia members, signifies a new era for the onion sector, which will benefit from stronger support from increased levels of support in advocacy and industry service delivery.
The merger will leverage the combined strengths of AUSVEG’s robust advocacy capabilities and service delivery and Onions Australia’s legacy and interest in the betterment of the onion sector, benefiting onion growers and stakeholders across Australia.
“Having Onions Australia merge with AUSVEG marks a new era of growth and opportunity for the Australian onion industry, providing a robust platform for the future success of onion growers and the broader onion sector through its alignment with the broader vegetable sector,” said AUSVEG Chair Bill Bulmer.
“We recognise the legacy of the Onions Australia brand, with its decade’s long history of representing the Australian onion sector. It is our intent to continue to recognise the dedication of those who have been instrumental in the history of Onions Australia and to build on this legacy to uplift the services and advocacy available to onion growers.”
“The decision aims to maximise member benefits and promote industry-wide success for the broader vegetable, potato and onion sectors. I look forward to working more closely with the onion sector to help it achieve significant success in the future.”
According to Onions Australia Chair Darren Rathjen, the merger ensures that the onion sector maintains a significant voice within the broader vegetable and horticulture industry and that onion growers have access to greater levels of services and expertise.
“In light of a changing industry landscape and a need to secure industry representation and advocacy for onion growers, the Onions Australia Executive Committee sought an opportunity to bolster our ability to meet the needs of the Australian onion sector,” said Mr Rathjen.
“In response to the wishes of our industry through a formal member vote, the Executive Committee has taken the decision to merge with AUSVEG. This decision is a strategic one aimed at building a stronger future for Australia’s onion sector, ensuring that our members’ concerns are addressed promptly and efficiently by AUSVEG.”
“Moreover, this merger is an affirmation of our shared commitment to the betterment of the onion industry, which shares significant similarities and overlap with the vegetable sector.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank our Executive Officer Lechelle Earl, who has been a dedicated member of Onions Australia for over a decade and has served the onion industry well during her time with the association. Even during the recent challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, Lechelle has been a tireless advocate for the onion sector, and we wish her well with her future endeavours.”
“Onions Australia looks forward to working with AUSVEG on this new journey together. As Chair, I sincerely thank Onions Australia members for their ongoing dedication and trust.”
Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt welcomed the move and said he looked forward to continuing to work with the industry.
“Particularly at a time when food security is front of mind globally, it’s so important that Australian agriculture has strong industry-led advocacy, to help grow the sector and also support farmers and the production chain,” Minister Watt said.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Onions Australia and I look forward to continuing that important work through AUSVEG.”
Grower levy investment processes, which are managed by Hort Innovation and Plant Health Australia, with oversight from the onion sector through industry mechanisms such as the Hort Innovation Strategic Investment Advisory Panels, will continue.
As part of this transition, all onion levy-paying growers will have an expanded suite of resources and benefits, including:
- Expanded Voice: AUSVEG’s dedicated public affairs team and its strong network with Federal Ministers and various government departments ensure that onion industry members’ interests are represented with vigour.
- Increased access to services: Onions Australia members can now take advantage of AUSVEG’s diverse resources in advocacy, public affairs, political engagement, communications, extension, biosecurity, and export development.
- Enhanced Brand Presence: The Onions Australia brand will continue to flourish, with its specific content and services maintained in industry publications and online.
Transition-related activities are already underway, with operations from the Onions Australia office expected to move to the AUSVEG office by the end of July.