CEO Update November 2019

Welcome to the November 2019 update for Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA). It has been a busy month with the completion of the first 100 days of operation of GIA and a number of interesting meetings.

This update will focus on the GIA Strategy being developed, the Plant Health Australia meetings, the Hort Innovation AGM and Extension and Adoption (E&A) workshop and the Voice of Horticulture Annual General Meeting (AGM). We also have a number of interesting articles and updates in this edition of the GIA News.

Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) Strategy:

The first draft of the strategy was presented and discussed at the GIA Board meeting on 20 November following the workshop at the end of October. The Directors provided consistent comment on the draft with particular focus on the key performance indicators (KPIs) and the setting of “aspirational goals” for GIA and the industry. These will be used in the assessment of the performance of GIA going forward.

The next draft of the strategy will be provided to the attendees of the strategy workshop, to o btain their comment and feedback for review, discussion and inclusion in the next draft as appropriate. A final draft will then be developed for review and sign off by the Board. The aim is to have the strategy completed and provided by the end of the year with a detailed presentation and implementation plan to be provided at the Conference in Perth in March.

Brain Ramsay, who helped progress the establishment of GIA based on his industry organisational structure expertise, recently wrote:

“Good governance means that the leadership of a member-based organisation is there to act in the best interests of the members as a whole. Not in the interests of each member individually, but the members as a whole.”

This will be the basis of governance for the GIA Board and under which the GIA strategy will be developed, finalised and implemented.

Plant Health Australia (PHA) Meetings:

The following PHA meetings were held in November – AGM, Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) Signatories Meeting, Plant Industry Forum (PIF) and the PHA Members Forum. I am the Chair of the PIF which addresses biosecurity issues with respect to all plant industries – nursery, greenlife, production horticulture, forestry, grape and wine, cotton, grain and sugarcane. It provides an excellent opportunity to discuss issues affecting all plant industries and that can be addressed on a collective basis.

The main items of business at the PHA AGM were updates on PHA activities and performance over the last financial year and the election of four Directors. Robert Prince was supported by PHA members for another four year term on the Board.

Hort Innovation – AGM and E&A Workshop:

Hort Innovation conducted their AGM and an E&A workshop late in November. The main item of business at the AGM was to ‘select’ three directors – two appointed by the Board and one voted by members. There were two incumbent directors that were returned, and a new director appointed.

The questions from the floor or received on notice during the AGM were interesting and covered the following areas: The consultation for the development of the Hort Innovation strategy was poorly represented by levy payers; There is no transparency on the funding model of Hort Innovation – in particular the Industry Specific Fund calculation; How are you avoiding duplication and repetition of research activities; How many members do you have – answer approximately 2,500 but “it is not a focus to have members” (last years figures provided were 2,300 members with 231 voting members out of a pool of circa 25,000); There are concerns on the turnover of staff; How to do engagement and consultation better; and how do the voting rights work?

A discussion paper on Modernising the Research and Development Corporation System has been released by the Minister for Agriculture the Hon. Bridget McKenzie. The paper is requesting submissions based on addressing the following areas: RDC Structures; collaboration and attracting new participants; uptake of agricultural R&D and advocacy. We will be making a submission which is due on 20 December. Please advise if you would like to have input or make a submission individually.

Voice of Horticulture (VoH) AGM:

NGIA, and now GIA, has been a strong supporter of across production horticulture advocacy. This is to address all the issues that have a national horticultural focus, such as labour, water, energy, biosecurity, etc, that are better to address as a collective than individually.

The VoH 2019 AGM was held in November and I completed a four year term on the VoH Board, with the last as Chair. Horticulture industry advocacy in Australia is fragmented currently with three distinct groups involved – VoH members, NFF Hort Council members (including VoH) and non-aligned members. The VoH Board had a clear position on a national advocacy body:

  1. Support one entity
  2. Hort Council (NFF) can provide the mechanism for the body to operate
  3. Need for independence
  4. Concerns on funding for a number of industry bodies
  5. Decision by each VoH member on how it would be involved going forward

A vote was taken at the AGM on the future of VoH and the members votes 80% in favour of keeping it going and to determine how best for it and/or members be involved with the Hort Council.

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