CEO Update May 2019

One vote down and one to go before the end of the financial year. The Federal Government was returned and we now know who are the various Ministers and their Departments we should engage with to assist in our advocacy and lobbying efforts on behalf of the nursery industry members.

The next vote is on 12 June for NGIA Members to vote on:

That the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia be voluntarily wound up; and that the peak industry body role be assumed by a new industry company, proposed as Greenlife Industry Australia; and that all actions to be pursued in giving effect to this resolution, is authorised to be undertaken as soon as is practicable following this meeting.

The notice of meeting was provided by email and post in mid May so all Members should be aware of the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and how they can vote on the above resolution.

May has been a busy period for NGIA operations with the following meetings and activities undertaken:

NGIA Board Meeting:
The NGIA Board met in early May with the main items of business being the Greenlife Industry Australia Reinvention Project, the financial management of the business to ensure it is in good shape financially for the next period of operation, the (N)GIA 2020 Conference to be held in March in Perth and an update on the Nursery Production Farm Management System program.

The NGIA Board has kept a keen interest in the review of the structure through to the Reinvention Project and now the vote at the EGM on 12 June. The Board has maintained an arms length approach to the process to ensure the proposed model has been progressed by members for members. Business, financial and legal consultants have been used over the last three years to ensure the key legal and statutory requirements have been met leading up to the vote and proposed establishment of Greenlife Industry Australia.

Levy Funded R&D and Marketing Investments:
The Nursery Industry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) met in mid May to assess and discuss the current and future portfolio of levy funded R&D and marketing projects and programs. The meeting was broken into three components - 1. Update on Hort Innovation; 2. Marketing Activities and 3. R&D Portfolio of Projects.

The most important business for the marketing strategy is the proposed transition of the name of the program from the 202020 Vision to Green Spaces / Better Places. The key audiences for the program will continue to be Government and Business to encourage and influence to still support the vision of more green space in urban areas going forward. The consumer facing program of Plant Life Balance will continue to be supported through the app, website, blog, events and other social media and other media.

Plant Health Australia Meetings:
The biannual Plant Health Australia (PHA) meetings were held at the end of May. The meetings included the Plant Industry Forum, the Members Forum, the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) Signatories and a General Meeting of PHA. One of the key items of business for the EPPRD was with respect to Owner Reimbursement Costs (ORC). These are costs that may be incurred if your business is put in “quarantine” following the possible or actual incursion of an emergency plant pest.

Nursery Stock Importation:
Karen Brock and I attended a meeting convened by NGIV with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) to discuss the importation of nursery stock into Australia. A number of issues and concerns have been raised with DAWR with respect to the importation of nursery stock. This has related to communications, cost, time and destruction of plant material.

The importation of nursery stock is an issue of national significance as businesses across the country import material. At the meeting it was determined that the issues need to be addressed on two fronts:

1. Industry Benefit - this is where all of industry would benefit from issues with respect to processes and policies be addressed on an industry basis.
2. Commercial Benefit - this is more of an operational and commercial benefit that would be addressed by individual businesses.

NGIA working with the State NGI Associations will look to establish a process for issues to be lodged and logged so they can be addressed in a systematic and logical approach with DAWR. NGIV have already started this process and have a range of issues already logged.

Water Use Efficiency:
NGIA working with Irrigation Australia, Turf Australia and the Landscape Industry developed a joint statement to highlight the importance of water use efficiency (WUE) in light of limited rain and likely water restrictions across various regions of Australia. The message for Water Authorities is on two levels - 1. Industry - for the four sectors to highlight the importance of WUE to members and 2. Water Authorities - to take a sensible and measured approach to enforcing water restrictions for use of water on parks and gardens to ensure their attributes and benefit are maintained.

Please contact me on it you have any questions or issues to raise with respect to my update or any other NGIA business.