CEO Update April 2019

Welcome to this the “voting/election/decision” edition of my update for the NNN newsletter. Over the next six weeks or so there are two very important voting decisions that will be made by NGIA members.

Greenlife Industry Australia Decision – 12 June 2019
The “most” important vote, is in fact the second to occur on 12 June, when NGIA members will vote on establishing the proposed new national representative entity – Greenlife Industry Australia.

On 20 April I “celebrated” four years as NGIA CEO. For 3.5 years of my tenure, the nursery industry and members have been reviewing, assessing and determining how best to structure the organisation to represent and service the members and industry going forward. The next two months will be pivotal for NGIA members in determining how you want to be represented and supported by your industry representative bodies and then managing the business going forward.

The NGIA Board will convene an Extraordinary General Meeting in Sydney on Wednesday 12 June. A Resolution to establish Greenlife Industry Australia will be put to the meeting. Full meeting documentation will be provided in due course.

The Transition Team of Russ Higginbotham (Chair), Glenn Fenton, Colin Groom, Robin McLay, Andy Cameron and Chris Simon have been working over the last two months to develop an Information Memorandum which will outline the key governance, financial and operational element of Greenlife Industry Australia. This Information Memorandum will be provided to all NGIA members to help in making an informed decision.

Australian Federal Government Election – 18 May 2019
The “second” vote, which is in fact the first to occur on 18 May, is to elect our next Federal Government. We have been assessing various election issues for members, the nursery industry and our broader stakeholder group. NGIA interacts with like minded “urban greening” organisations such as Turf Australia, Irrigation Australia and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and production horticulture representative groups Voice of Horticulture and NFF Hort Council to assess key election issues.

Some of the key priorities and issues relevant to the Agriculture and Horticulture (including nursery) industries are:

Plant Health and Biosecurity – 2020 has been declared the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. NGIA has welcomed the announcement and is working with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on how to promote and highlight the importance of plant health to all of horticulture. IYPH will put the spotlight on plant industries and the need for a robust national plant health system which is at the forefront of the industry’s plant biosecurity activities.

Water – while there is drought funding support with a commitment to expand the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and the Future Drought Fund, our immediate concern is to ensure certainty of access to water and support for water use efficiency. This is vital at a regional, state and national level as the nursery industry traverses the country. We also need to provide commentary on gardening watering restrictions to ensure green space is maintained for its health, well-being and cooling benefits.

Workforce – the national nursery industry career pathway strategy has been completed and outlines strategies and actions to attract, develop and retain a skilled and reliable workforce. The strategy will focus on industry promotion, policy parameters, training systems, human resource management practices and defined career pathways. We will work with relevant government departments to help support the delivery of the strategy.

Urban Greening – the activities of the 202020 Vision have been excellent in “influencing the influencers” to achieve 20% more green space in urban areas by 2020. All levels of government have been important to influence in highlighting the importance of green space in urban, coastal and rural areas. These efforts will continue with both sides of government going forward to ensure there is bipartisan support for greener cities.

Packaging – a vital issue for the industry given the increase awareness and pressure on recycling and sustainability of all products use in nursery production. NGIA has worked with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to ensure members and the industry are compliant with the government regulations for packaging.

Natural Disasters – funding support has been committed to businesses affected by flood, storms, fire and other natural disasters and to ensure the availability of additional resourcing in natural disaster recovery efforts.

Questions or Comments:
As usual if you have any questions or comments please send them to