CEO Update October 2019

Welcome to the end of October 2019 update for Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA). We have a number of interesting articles and updates in this edition of the GIA News.

This update will focus on the Greenlife Industry Australia Strategy Workshop that was conducted in Melbourne at “Greenfields” over 29 and 30 October. It will also include an overview of the NGIA Annual General Meeting conducted on 30 October and the recent Hort Innovation – Peak Industry Body (PIB) forums conducted in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Greenlife Industry Australia Strategy Workshop:
The first strategic plan for GIA will be developed following the workshop conducted earlier in the week in Melbourne at a venue called “Greenfields”. The venue name was part coincidental, but representative of the greenlife industry and that we could take a “greenfield” approach to developing the strategy for the greenlife PIB, and the greenlife industry more generally.

The 45 workshop attendees were representative of the geographical, environmental, climatic, demographic, enterprise and generational diversity of the industry. Each state was represented with anywhere from 2 to 10 attendees, the business members were made up 60% production, 23% allied suppliers and 17% independent retail, and all GIA and NGIA Directors attended with many State NGI Directors also present.

The workshop opened with scene setting by the facilitators (Scott Williams and Russell Pattinson), an overview of GIA and why we need the strategy by Karen Brock and presentations of four key customer segments – independent retail, production horticulture, landscape and infrastructure. The customer segment representatives provided their thoughts, ideas and insights on where their sector is progressing and what the greenlife demands and requirements will be into the future.

The development of the strategy was based around sessions with synopsis, analysis, discussion and review for GIA and industry on the following:

  • Success in 2050 – look at where we want to get to in 30 years;
  • Where the industry is now through a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis;
  • Identification and prioritisation of key activities to be undertaken; and
  • Assessment of key performance indicators (KPIs) and risks for achievement of the strategy.
The common strategic themes that were developed in the workshop included: 1. Building the greenlife story; 2. “Future proofing” members and industry; 3. Leadership, influence and policy; 4. Ensuring a strong funding based; 5. Allow businesses to flourish; 6. Education and training; and 7. Community support.

The process from here is for the strategy themes, activities, KPIs and risks be reviewed, refined and aggregated into a draft strategy by Scott and Russell by mid-November. That strategy will be provided to all workshop attendees for review and comment. The GIA Board meet next on 20 November where they will conduct a session on the draft strategy to also provide feedback and comment. The final strategy will be ready by mid-December and will be presented at the National Conference in Perth from 3-5 March next year.

To assist with the networking and engagement of attendees a number of activities were conducted including finding out a little known fact, greenlife trivia and a mid-workshop dinner where many of the more ‘strategic’ ideas came from.

NGIA Annual General Meeting (AGM):
The final AGM for NGIA was conducted on 30 October. The minutes of the 2018 AGM, the 2018/19 Annual Report and the audited Financial Statements for the year ended 30 June 2019 were approved. NGIA members also approved the Nominations for Life Memberships of Glenn Fenton and Colin Groom for their years of dedicated service to the industry.

Members also approved the resolution that the incumbent NGIA Directors be maintained for the period of six months to take the necessary steps to manage and finalise the transition arrangements and winding up of NGIA.

Hort Innovation – Peak Industry Body (PIB) Forums:
Hort Innovation conducted a series of PIB Forums in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in the second half of October. I attended the Sydney forum and there were presentations by Hort Innovation staff - Matt Brand (CEO), Sally Holmes (GM Stakeholder Engagement) and Corrine Jasper (Relationship Manager).

The presentations included an overview of their strategy, new approach to extension and adoption (E&A), 2018 Review of Performance implementation, Statement of Commitment with PIBs, new Industry Strategic Partnership model and the R&D and marketing investment advisory mechanism. The basic upshot for R&D and marketing investments will be an annual call based on the Strategic Investment Plan and the “funnel” will be no more.

Some key messages from the forum – “Hort Innovation will accept the responsibility for investments and the process” made by Matt Brand, “there is not much of a value proposition of our (Hort Innovation) membership” made by Sally Holmes and the most telling question and answer from a PIB point of view from the day – “What does Hort Innovation want from PIBs?” - “An efficient way to get a collective view from a segment of the industry.”

Hort Innovation AGM – for those of you that are voting members of Hort Innovation then at least one part of the “value proposition” is to vote on Directors. The Hort Innovation Notice of AGM has been circulated and there are five Directors to vote for one member elected and two Hort Innovation appointed Directors. If you are intending on voting my recommendation is to vote for Andrew Spencer and he has provided his mobile number – 0423 769 609 - if you would like to call him and discuss his approach to being a Director of Hort Innovation.

Please contact me at if you would like to provide comments or have questions on the activities of Greenlife Industry Australia.