CEO and Future Model Update September 2018

Welcome to the September (or Grand Final) edition of the NNN Newsletter. I hope the first month of spring has progressed well and those of you that enjoy the footy have an enjoyable weekend. For those that don’t enjoy the football, I hope you have an enjoyable weekend in the garden.

September has been another busy month with an NGIA Board meeting, progress being made on the development of the business plan for our Future Model and the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) in Italy. I will provide details of these activities below.

NGIA Board Meeting:
The NGIA Board meeting was held in mid-September with the key items of business being the Financial Report for the 2018 financial year, a session with Brian Ramsay to discuss the Future Model for the Nursery and Garden Industry and a discussion on the Hort Innovation review and projects.

The Board approved the Financial Report for the 2018 financial year. The report provides the detail for the Annual Report to be presented at the NGIA Annual General Meeting to be held on 13 November. NGIA recorded a modest profit of almost $35,000 as compared to a budgeted loss. The improved result was due to improved project income, licensing income from the Plant Life Balance program and in-house management of the NGIA Conference.

The Hort Innovation review is a requirement every four years, under their Statutory Funding Agreement (SFA) with the Australian Government, and it has been completed. 14 recommendations were made by GHD (the reviewer) and Hort Innovation has responded to each of the recommendations. The initiatives outlined in the Hort Innovation response to the review will form an ongoing program of work for Hort Innovation and help to inform the negotiations around the next SFA between the Australian Government and Hort Innovation.

The review addressed the relationship Hort Innovation has with individual Industry Representative Bodies (IRB). Two particular recommendations arising from the review spoke of the relationship between IRBs and Hort Innovation:

Recommendation 7: Hort Innovation to develop a generic agreement, or Statement of Intent, between Hort Innovation and IRBs that codifies the relationship and includes a complaint handling process, with the scope of the agreement to be jointly agreed between Hort Innovation and IRBs

Recommendation 8: Hort Innovation, in consultation with IRBs and the Commonwealth, to put a resolution for member vote removing the exclusion of IRBs from being members of the company. (The NGIA Board supported this recommendation).

The new CEO of Hort Innovation who started in September, Mr Matthew Brand, has been invited to attend the November Board meeting of NGIA. The Board will provide Matthew with an overview of the industry and the key issues that need and continue to be addressed by Hort Innovation using nursery industry levy funding.

NY Project Portfolio:
A number of projects have been contracted recently:

NY17002 – Review of nursery industry career pathways. The project is being run by RMCG Consulting with support from NGIA. (A link to the survey for this project has been provided in this NNN newsletter and the September Your Levy @ Work newsletter and I would encourage you to complete the survey given the importance of this issue to the industry).
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. (Again, I would encourage you to participate in the survey for this project when it is conducted. This is another project of importance to the industry with the results assisting our advocacy, lobbying, policy development, submissions, applications, decision making and resource allocation).
NY17009 – Improving pest management for the nursery industry. The project is being run by NGIA.

Proposed new Nursery Communications Program:
NY18001 - NGIA has joined Cox Inall in submitting a proposal for NY18001 - Australian Nursery Industry Communications Program for the period November 2018 to November 2019. This project will be the continuation of the current communications program.

Future Model for Our Industry:
During the June NGIA Board meeting, the State NGI Presidents joined by teleconference to discuss and determine if the next step in the process is the development of the business plan for the Future Unity Model. The participants agreed to a two-step approach; 1. To engage a consultant to do some additional consultation and 2. Develop the business plan. The steps are linked with the consultation happening first as a discrete activity, rather than within the business plan development, to fully engage the State Associations and determine what are the key items to be addressed and “tweaked” from the two reviews and other activities.

Brain Ramsay of Inovact Consulting is developing the business plan for the Future Model and attended a session during the NGIA September Board meeting. Consultation activities with the NGI network of associations is detailed below:

4 September – attend NGIV Trade Day and other NGIV member visits
10 September – NGINA member visits
11 September – Attend NGIA Board meeting and NGIT Board teleconference
12 September – Attend NGISA Board meeting and NGISA member visits
19 September – Attend NGIV Board meeting
28 September – Attend NGIQ Board meeting, NGIQ member visits, NGIA staff discussion
2 October – NGIWA Board meeting teleconference
19 October – Attend NGINA Board meeting to discuss draft business plan
Brian will progress the business plan as per the following timeline:
12 October 2018: First draft of business plan completed and provide for circulation to the NGI Executive Network
31 October 2018: Business plan completed and provided for circulation to the NGI Executive Network
12 November 2018: Presentation and discussion of business plan at the NGI Executive Network meeting

International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) Congress – Padua, Italy:
I attended the AIPH Annual Congress in Italy from 17 to 22 September. The Congress involved the following activities:

  • AIPH Board meeting – held face to face twice yearly to review the operations and financial position of the organisation. Australia is represented in the Asian region by the representative from Indonesia.
  • AIPH Expo Conference – included presentations on conducting horticultural expos around the globe.
  • AIPH Expos – included presentations on progress of approved expos and expo applications. Of interest for Australia was a reapplication for Australis as detailed below.
  • Green Cities Conference – becoming a regular feature of AIPH meetings following on from the Green Cities Conference in Melbourne in March this year.
  • AIPH Member Meeting – one of two General Meetings conducted face to face each year to discuss the operational and financial issues of AIPH. This meeting also included the election of a number of Directors, Green City, Ornamental Production and Exhibition committee reports and a decision on proposed expos (including Australis – refer below).
  • Attendance at Flormart – As with the AIPH meeting coinciding with MIFGS in Melbourne in March this year, this meeting coincided with Flormart which is the premier nursery industry trade fair in Italy. A Xylella fastidious workshop was conducted to provide details of the trials and tribulations for the Italian nursery industry in dealing with this insidious disease.
  • Nursery Visits – a number of nurseries were visited in the Pistoia region which is a significant nursery production area of Italy. The nurseries included a specialised olive tree nursery and the Giorgio Tesi Group being one of the largest at 500 ha.

Australis Update:
A reapplication for Australis for the period September 2022 to March 2023 at the Sydney Olympic Park site. The NGIA Board has been keeping a watching brief on Australis since it was first proposed in 2015. The signing of a Heads of Agreement with the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) has been a good achievement and the NGIA Board understands the potential sales, promotion and marketing opportunities that Australis could create for the nursery and garden industry and hence has maintained the watching brief as advised. The AIPH members voted in favour with conditional support for Australis being supported as a B Class AIPH Expo. There are a number of operational and financial obligations required by the end of October 2018 and again by May 2019 for Australis to be provided approval.

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

Grand Finals
Good luck to those of you who have a team in the Grand Finals this weekend. I have the Magpies in the AFL and the Storm in the NRL so hopefully I will celebrate twice!