Australia: enquiry demands citrus funding transparency

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Australia: enquiry demands citrus funding transparency

A government enquiry has demanded research body Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) must change the membership of its committee that assesses projects, news agency the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.

The ruling means HAL needs to be more transparent in how it hands out projects, while no more than half of its members can come from industry body Citrus Australia.

The report, which was leaked to the ABC, said HAL would need to conduct tenders for projects with funding larger than AUD$100,000 (US$99,771).

The story reported citrus grower Frank Battistel, who was chairman of the now defunct Riverina Citrus, raised the initial concens claiming Citrus Australia was taking money away from good projects.

"We don't know whether they were the best people to do the projects and the best value for money, but they received about $2.2 million worth of the money," Battistel was quoted as saying.

"Were they the best people to run those projects? Did anyone have the opportunity to put up an opposition to that projects or try to do the project?"

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