CEO Update February 2020

Welcome to the February 2020 update from Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA).

I hope the year has started reasonably well for you with fires being extinguished, the heat lessening and welcome rain in some areas. There is still the challenge of dealing with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impacts on horticulture and member businesses (more on this below), and wild storms have stretched across the country, which have impacted some member businesses.

Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) Board Meeting
GIA will be having its first face to face Board meeting for 2020 at the conference in Perth next week, following the teleconference in January. The Board has basically met on a monthly basis since GIA commencing operation in July last year. This was to ensure that all requirements were met in the establishment of GIA and all activities to transition arrangements, projects and intellectual property from NGIA to GIA were monitored regularly.

At the meeting next week, the Board will assess and discuss the establishment of GIA Board committees for governance, strategy and operations. Agenda items include GIA’s financial position, implementation of the strategy, levy investment, greenlife/nursery industry advocacy, member engagement and partnership management.

The Board will meet bimonthly in 2020 to maintain their oversight of the business with three teleconferences and three face to face meetings.

Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) Strategy
The GIA strategy for 2020-2023 has been approved by the GIA Board and will be launched at the inaugural GIA conference next week. The implementation of the strategy will be built around an Annual Operating Plan (AOP) to be presented at the May Board meeting and will focus on the following five imperatives:

Strategic Imperative 1: Influence policy and programs to benefit the greenlife sector
Strategic Imperative 2: Promote the benefits of the greenlife industry
Strategic Imperative 3: Manage risks to ensure industry sustainability
Strategic Imperative 4: Develop industry skills and career opportunities
Strategic Imperative 5: Secure a strong stakeholder and funding base

Australian Plant Production Standard (APPS)
(Formerly known as Nursery Production Farm Management System (NPFMS))
We are in the process of managing the transition of the name and branding for the NPFMS to APPS. All participants in the program were advised of the change prior to the commencement of 2020 and we are now systematically communicating the change across all members, the industry and customers.

The approval to make the change was based on consultation by a committee of the GIA Board and the National Governance Committee for the program. The rationale for the name change is:

1.FMS is not intuitively descriptive and requires further explanation, a ‘Standard’ is self-explanatory

2.Significant changes occurring to NIASA and BioSecure HACCP over the past 5 years including:

i)Elements of NIASA are ‘mandatory compliance’ at a minimum of ‘Satisfactory’
ii)BioSecure HACCP is a pass/fail standard with complete compliance required
iii)Additional specifications added to NIASA (Tree Stock, Avocado, Macadamia, Banana)
iv)NIASA has equivalence to the Australian Strawberry Runner Accreditation Scheme
v)BioSecure HACCP is legally recognised across Australia for market access

3.The additional specifications broaden the client base therefore value and recognition are critical

4.All of our supply channels recognise the broad definition of ‘A Standard’ and its inherent meaning

5.‘Standard’ reinforces the quality and rigour of the programs and elevates the level of creditability

6.‘Plant Production’ is the collective title reflective of the entire national nursery production sector: descriptive, unambiguous, avoids pigeonholing associated with a single supply channel
ii.intuitively informs and embraces all components of nursery production
iii.inclusive of various cropping systems in food, fibre, foliage and pharma production

We are in the process of developing an updated business and operational plan for APPS. The last plan was developed in 2016 for the three years of operation from 2017 to 2020, which included the transition of the program to a fee for service activity managed by NGIA and now GIA.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
You would be aware of the increasing concerns of the impact of COVID-19 on Australia, Australians and visitors and Australian businesses. We have been interacting with and receiving advice from the Hort Council on developments. The measures and actions to minimise the impact of the virus on businesses and staff will be important. Some of the areas to consider are:

1.Staffing – in particular if you use casual and temporary (backpacker/visa supported) workers and their availability.

2.Farm and personal hygiene – ensure this is highlighted and reinforced across the business.

3.Access to markets with plant movements – may have some impact on nursery stock and its movement domestically but more important for fruit, vegetable and nut industries accessing export markets.

We are in the process of determining what resources are available and support required for and by the nursery industry and members.


Final Word
I look forward to catching up with those of you who will be at the Conference next week. An excellent program of tours, presentations, workshops and social functions has been organised. We will aim to ensure key messages will be communicated to all members following the conference.

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