CEO Update

Welcome to the first NNN Newsletter for 2019. I hope you had an enjoyable festive season and were able to have a break from work and the heat. I am looking forward to 2019 being another prosperous, productive

and profitable year for the NGI members, the nursery industry and our industry stakeholders. There are a number of interesting and exciting activities and projects being progressed to provide benefits and value to members.

This is my first week back in the office after a few weeks of leave and I have been working through my emails. I managed to get through around a week and a half of emails before the phone started ringing, meetings started to happen and more emails arrived. The email that I did read that had the most impact on me was the January update from Turf Australia. It opened with a story of a horrific workplace injury with the second story being the death of a “friend” of the industry.

The first story was a stark return to work reminder for me of the importance of a business having an effective workplace health and safety plan (WHS) and the second a reminder to make the most of and enjoy what we do. WHS is primarily the responsibility of the business owner and secondly for all staff to follow and enact the WHS plan’s policies and procedures. Remember to set aside time to review, update, implement and manage you WHS plan in your business to avoid injuries, lost time and productivity.

Following I will provide an update and overview of key activities, meeting and events that we will be working on at NGIA over the next few months:

NGIA Board Meeting:
The first meeting of the NGIA Board for 2019 will be held by teleconference on Tuesday 5 February. The key items of business will be to discuss the Future Model for Our Industry, Finances, Governance, interaction with Hort Innovation and review of current projects.

A reminder that the transition team that has been established to work on the Future Model for the Industry is made up of NGIA Life Member Russ Higginbotham who will be chair and Glenn Fenton (VIC), Colin Groom (WA), Symone Mansfield (VIC), Andy Cameron (NSW), Robin McLay (QLD) and Chris Simon (SA). There is an article on the team in this edition of NNN.

NGIA Advocacy Activities:
The NGI network conducts advocacy at a number of levels – Regional, State, National and International – as individual businesses or in partnership with other organisations.

2019 will be an important year for NGIA to manage our advocacy activities and efforts, in particular with the upcoming Federal Election to ensure Government activities and policies reflect and address the needs of the nursery industry members. NGIA will also work with the Voice of Horticulture and NFF’s Hort Council on national production horticultural issues and progress the interests and efforts of urban, coastal and regional “greening” through working with the evolving Green Industry Alliance.

Of particular importance will be our efforts around plant biosecurity, water, energy and labour. Within the plant biosecurity, we will also look ensure we progress the establishment of a nursery grower register. This is being advanced on two fronts based on a levy payer register and property identification codes.

Horticulture Innovation Australia
NGIA will continue to work with Hort Innovation on the management of the investment of the nursery R&D and marketing levies. Karen Brock and Hamish Mitchell, as NGIA Directions, along with Mike Mehigan, Carole Fudge, Anthony Tesselaar, Sonja Cameron, John Bunker and I, still sit on the Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP). We assess the investments and provide advice to Hort Innovation from a strategic point of view. The first meeting of the year will be on 26-27 February, so please submit any project proposals you may have or contact a SIAP member to raise any issues you would like addressed. Please follow the Nursery Industry Communications Program activities to be kept fully aware of the levy investments.

Hort Innovation is in the process of developing a new Strategic Plan, which will be launched in mid-2019, replacing our current one. In developing the plan, they are providing growers (levy payers), members and stakeholders (ie NGIA) the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas on how Hort Innovation invests levies on behalf of the sector. They are conducting a series of Consultation Workshops across the country.

Hort Innovation are seeking ideas around four key questions:
  • What are the most important priorities for Hort Innovation?
  • What are the top goals for Hort Innovation?
  • What are Hort Innovation's strengths?
  • What are Hort Innovation's obstacles?
More details are contained in the article in this edition of NNN or on the Hort Innovation website.

Nursery Industry Career Pathways Project
A workshop to present, review and discuss the findings of the research activities for the nursery industry career pathways projects was conducted in Melbourne early in December. Attracting, developing and retaining staff in the industry is one of the key challenges for businesses currently. The workshop attendees engaged in discussion and exercises to help assess and understand the issues and strategies to help promote nursery industry careers. The project is being conducted by RMCG Consulting Group in collaboration with NGIA and the final report and action plan will be presented early in 2019.

Looking to 2020 – Already!
There are a number of “goings-on” planned for 2020 that we are already starting to think about. They include the NGIA National Conference to be held in Perth, the development of the next strategy for the industry body beyond 2020, the transition of the 202020 Vision Marketing Program to its next phase and the recently announced International Year of Plant Health by the United Nations General Assembly. Please follow NNN for more details and how you can contribute and be involved.

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