CEO and Future Model Update August 2018

Welcome to the latest edition of the NNN Newsletter on the last day of winter. I hope you are prepared and looking forward to a prosperous spring. On talking to a number of growers at the NGIQ Green Expo, their main concern was not having enough plants, which hopefully is a good sign of a strong upcoming sales period.

An issue we are keeping an eye on is the lack of rainfall and thus drought conditions in various areas across the country. I attended a function where the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Michael McCormack and the Deputy Premier of NSW the Hon John Barilaro were present and a key focus of their talks was the impact of the drought. NGIA is undertaking a number of measures to address the drought, from a nursery and garden point of view, to alleviate its impact on businesses. Please refer to the article in this NNN for details on being “Wise about water”.

NGI Network Future Model:

The next stage in progressing the Future Model for Our Industry is the development of the business plan for the Unity Model. The State and National NGI Boards and Executives have agreed to terms of reference and Brian Ramsay of Inovact Consulting has been appointed to develop the business plan. Brian’s experience in this area includes contributing to the restructure of the citrus industry and bringing together a number of pork industry bodies into Australian Port Limited.

The business plan will pay particular attention to the financial model, protecting the heritage assets, member services, regional representation and a realistic transition timeframe. To do this, Brian will meet with each NGI Board and other industry members and review the structure review reports from 2016 and 2017. We will keep you advised of developments.

Levy Funded R&D and Marketing:

Your investment in levy funded R&D and marketing programs was discussed at the Nursery Industry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) on 7 and 8 August. The meeting was conducted in conjunction with NGIQ’s Green Expo to allow NGIA members and levy payers the opportunity to engage with the SIAP and Hort Innovation representatives. A number of thoughts and ideas were provided on projects and activities, which were discussed during the SIAP meeting.

In the meeting, the SIAP discussed and assessed proposed and active R&D and Marketing programs. From an R&D perspective there are a number of projects have been contracted, including:

NY17002 – Review of nursery industry career pathways. The project is being run by RMCG Consulting with support from NGIA.

NY17006 – Global review and gap analysis of nursery industry R&D. This project is being run by RMCG Consulting.

NY17008 – Nursery industry statistics 2016-17 to 2019-20. This project is being managed by NGIA in partnership with Down to Earth Research and ACIL Allen Consulting. It is a continuation of Project NY16004 – Nursery Industry Statistics and Research, over multi-years to build more accurate year on year data.

NY17009 – Improving pest management for the nursey industry. The project is being run by NGIA.

For the Career Pathways and Industry Statistics, I would encourage your involvement. Finding, training and keeping a strong and viable workforce is vital for the industry and highlighted regularly as the most important issue. In the statistics project last year, we had 221 survey participants and we are aiming for 300 this year. The production nursery surveys will be conducted in November 2018, so please set aside some time to contribute.

More details will be provided on how you can participate and contribute to the projects with updates provided in the nursery communications program.

There will also be a session at the SIAP on the plans for the next phase of the 202020 Vision marketing program. There will continue to be a focus on the key audiences of Government and industry and the Plant Life Balance campaign. The next phase of the marketing program is again being managed by The Republic of Everyone with public relations organisation The Bravery in support.

For more detail on the levy funded R&D and marketing programs please follow information and updates on the Your Levy at Work website, NGIA’s facebook and twitter and the 202020 Vision and Plant Life Balance websites.

Biosecurity Roundtable Meeting:

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) is formally established under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB). The IGAB was signed on 13 January 2012 and signatories include all states and territories except Tasmania.

The NBC provides advice to the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee and the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum on national biosecurity, and on progress in implementing the IGAB. The goal of a national biosecurity system is to minimise the impact of pests and diseases on Australia’s economy, environment and the community, with resources targeted to manage risk effectively across the continuum, while facilitating trade and the movement of animals, plants, people, goods, vectors and vessels to, from and within Australia.

The NBC, in conjunction with each State’s Biosecurity Department, conducts a series of meeting across the country each year to obtain feedback and input on its activities and how to improve its operation. I attended the NSW/ACT “roundtable” meeting yesterday and some of the interesting information and discussion was:

  1. $53.6m. was spent on pest and disease response plans in the 2017/18 financial year.
  2. Agricultural industry participants are bringing in material not through the correct channels putting industries at risk.
  3. A biosecurity import levy of $10.02 per 20-foot container and $1.00 per non-containerised cargo will be imposed on freight from 1 July 2019. It was unclear if this levy will go to support addressing plant pest incursions rather than relying only on the current Government and Industry funds.
  4. New “x-ray” technology being developed to assess luggage and packaging, so it does not have to be opened.
  5. The NBC is looking to finalise the National Biosecurity Statement by November this year as a “call to action” for all Australians on biosecurity. 28 responsibilities for Government, Industry and the Community have been identified in the “call to action”.

There are three types of locations of plant pests and the actions for them are detailed below:

  • Exotic Pest – not in Australia – Keep Out
  • Emerging Pest – been found in Australia – find, identify, isolate and eradicate if possible
  • Endemic Pest – in Australia – learn to live with and manage

The simple message is that biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility.

Final Word(s):

The Deputy Prime Minister proudly said, and we would use this (paraphrased) line – “Australian farmers (and growers) are very resilient, they can plant nails and grow crowbars”. He also closed his talk by saying that The Prime Minister – The Hon Scott Morrison, would be out of the country today so he would be acting Prime Minister, out third PM in seven days.

Comments, Questions?:

As usual if you have any comments, questions or require further information or clarification on my activities or NGIA’s activities, please contact me at