President's Report December 2019

In my last message, I spoke about the importance of GIA providing value to the industry. In this Industry News a more detailed article on the success that GIA recently had in resolving post entry quarantine issues and the value that provided to the businesses involved is shared. It’s very interesting reading, as it goes to the heart of where GIA needs to operate. You can read it here.

As a business owner, I know the effectiveness of a company's internal and external communication process is critical to its overall success. Internally, GIA is putting the final touches to its Strategic Plan that will lay out our goals, objectives and communication strategy over the next few years. This is a critical document for the Board and the industry. Too often, these sorts of documents are developed and filed away, because they are too ambitious and inadequately resourced. I believe our engagement with the industry in developing the plan, will ensure we strike the right balance. The final plan will be presented to industry during Greenlife Industry Australia’s first national conference in the first week of March next year, in Perth.

Externally, we must be absolutely determined in owning the key industry messages and activities we have developed over recent years. The key messages in 202020 Vision and now Greener Spaces Better Places, about urban greening and the environmental and health benefits for Australia, were developed by our industry investment. We must continue to show leadership and a laser-like focus in owning that space. Next year, we will engage with like-minded industries on how we can continue to leverage these messages and assist Governments at all levels in policy development. State Associations will continue to have challenges in engaging with Governments and local authorities, particularly in relation to planning and water policy. It requires a whole of industry approach – GIA supporting and State Associations working together. I strongly commend the NGIV approach in a long-term engagement process with the Government and opposition. This continues to deliver favourable outcomes and should be studied by other State Associations and applied where appropriate.

Last week I travelled to Sydney. Peter Vaughan and I had an opportunity to attend the NGINA Trade Day as I wanted to understand the difficulties of drought, fires and water restrictions on the industry in NSW. I was briefed on NGINA representations to Sydney Water and how GIA might provide ongoing support. It also gave me an opportunity to discuss industry communication and the division of responsibilities between GIA and State Associations. It is quite clear; GIA is our national peak body and will represent the industry at that level. However, there are many businesses, both established and new, that are not members of GIA or State Associations and they need to understand what the peak body is doing. It was a great discussion and I appreciated the time NGINA gave to Peter and myself. Next year, I will meet with other State Associations and non-member businesses and learn how GIA can communicate with them.

Returning to the Healthy Plants Healthy People conference, I am looking forward to speaking with Members during this time. The program is addressing relevant and topical issues affecting the industry and with Early Bird registration rates ending shortly, I would encourage registration before the holiday season kicks off.

In closing, on behalf of the Board and staff of GIA, I would like to thank the industry for the strength and commitment it has shown during the restructure of the industry. We have clear air now and there is much to do. Have a safe and enjoyable festive season.