What is the Nursery Industry Levy?

What is the Nursery Products Levy?

The nursery levy, often called the pot levy was introduced at the request of the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia in 1989 under the Primary Industries Levy Legislation. The levy is based on the action of putting a plant into a container with growing media for growing on or for sale.

The industry has chosen to manage and measure this by making the levy payable on all containers in which plants are grown for resale.

While it is referred to as the pot levy it is also payable on plastic bags, root control bags, degradable pots, punnets and any other container used for pots grown for resale. It is payable for anyone using the pots but it is collected at the point of purchase of the containers and is usually added to the invoice the purchaser of the pot's receives. No levy is payable on pots sold to retail customers, such as in garden centres.

The levy can be raised, lowered or removed altogether only at the express request of NGIA after appropriate consultation with the industry. The levy is currently set at 5% of the wholesale value of the container.

Who collects the Levy?

The levy is collected by the Levies Revenue Service [LRS] which is part of the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The nursery product levy is one of over 60 industry levies that they collect ranging from horticultural crops such as apples and pears, citrus, macadamias and vegetables, to most livestock and cattle, grains, honey, chickens, dairy products and many other primary industries.

The LRS collects the levy from container manufacturers and distributors who add 5% to the invoice to customers. Anyone importing pots is also required to pay the levy on the final landed cost price of the containers, which includes the cost of the container plus duty, clearance charges and transport costs to their business. Importers must pay the levy directly to LRS. Recycled pots are also subject to the levy.

Under an arrangement between NGIA and Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIA), levy collectors are entitled to be reimbursed 2.5% of monies collected to cover their costs. Collectors must apply for this reimbursement and provide the LRS with the details of the amount collected.

In 2013/2014, $2 million was collected. As the levy is linked to the wholesale value of the container, fluctuations in collections are influenced by a number of factors including the price of plastic and other raw materials, the price of the containers themselves and the number of containers sold. It is not a direct measure of the number of plants sold or the level of activity in the industry although it is an indication. It is important to note that there is a lag period between the purchase of pots and the sale of the plant.

Who manages the levy funds?

Once the funds are collected by LRS, they are passed on to HIA. The split between marketing and research and development [R&D] is determined by NGIA. Currently the marketing program receives 2% and R&D receives 3% of the 5% collected. The R&D allocation attracts dollar for dollar matching contribution from the Federal Government.

How are the levy funds invested?

HIA has developed an Industry Strategic Investment Plan that covers industry marketing and R&D activities. Copies of the new Industry Strategic Investment Plan will be available here shortly. The 2017-2021 Plan is currently being finalised.

Each year funds are allocated towards implementing the marketing and R&D objectives contained in the Strategic Investment Plan. HIA seek advice from a Strategic Industry Advisory Panel (SIAP) which consists of representatives of the industry who applied and were accepted by HIA as nursery representatives. NGIA also sits on this panel which is managed by an independent Chair. The prime role of the SIAP is to provide direction and advice to HIA on the most appropriate use of funds to ensure maximum industry benefit including reviewing all projects which have been proposed.

Role of Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIA)

Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIA) is a not-for-profit, grower-owned Research and Development Corporation (RDC)for Australia’s $9.5billion horticulture industry. HIA invests more than $100 million in research, development and marketing programs annually.

HIA’s key functions are to:

  • provide leadership to, and promote the development of, the Australian horticulture sector
  • increase the productivity, farm gate profitability and global competitiveness of the horticultural industries by investing grower levies and government funds in research, development, extension and marketing funds, programs and services and; providing information, services and products related to project outcomes
  • promote the interests of horticultural industries overseas including the export of Australian horticultural products.

HIA was established following the acceptance of the recommendations of an independent review of Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) in 2014. The financial and other assets of HAL were transferred to HIA under the Horticulture Marketing and Research and Development Services (Transfer of Industry Assets and Liabilities) Regulation 2014.

Full details and Grower registration details can be found at www.horticulture.com.au

Current Nursery Program,

For more information on the Industry Program please click here.

Want to know more?

Download the information sheet for more information on the Nursery Levy. If you would like further information on the nursery products levy, how it is managed or how it is spent, contact your state association, NGIA or HIA.