President's Report February 2020

Last week, Peter Vaughan and I met with Belinda Rakers and Robert Chin from Bunnings. As the single largest purchaser of greenlife in Australia, it is important that GIA understands the strategic objectives for Bunnings and the effect these might have on our members and the wider industry. It was also an opportunity for us to brief them on our new strategic plan and where the opportunities for harmonizing our objectives might exist. The meeting was very useful for both organisations. The Australian Plant Production Standard (AAPS) (formerly the FMS program of NIASA, EcoHort and BioSecure HACCP) and recycling are two obvious areas for further discussion and development. Belinda and Robert will be attending our National conference next week and it is my hope that we will continue to meet twice per year.

The meeting with Bunnings is part of a wider strategy of engagement with businesses and industry groups that purchase greenlife from our industry. Not every business or customer chooses to be a member of GIA, however, as the peak industry body, we have an obligation to the whole of industry to ensure we communicate key activities and developments. The obvious area is in biosecurity and there is a tremendous opportunity for GIA to improve the resilience of the industry with the APPS. Waste management and recycling are also long-term areas for research and development, and we look forward to working with Bunnings and other key partners in our industry.

This week I visited fire effected nursery businesses in NSW and Victoria. In Batlow, I visited Cascade Nursery, who were evacuated. They lost production facilities, but thankfully, their house was saved. I was struck by their determination to rebuild and, through a combination of Government assistance and insurance, I’m sure they will get there. The devastation in these areas is widespread and needs to be seen to be totally understood. Not every household or business was insured and is a stark reminder to our industry.

In closing we have 222 delegates for National Conference next week in Perth. I look forward to seeing you at the Westin.