Event cancellation due to COVID-19

On Friday 15 March 2020, following the COAG Meeting, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, flanked by the State Premiers and Chief Ministers and Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy held a press conference.

The meeting made several recommendations regarding precautionary measures to slow the advance of COVID-19. Among those recommendations was a unanimous agreement “to advise against and restrict non-essential organised gatherings of persons of 500 or more” from today, Monday 16 March. Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s recommendation changed from advice level to ‘enforcement’.

Event cancellations

Soon after the announcement on Friday, the Perth Garden & Outdoor Living Festival and the Sydney Royal Easter Show were cancelled for 2020. On Saturday morning a release confirmed that the 2020 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show was cancelled.

The Australian greenlife industry has been significantly impacted by the cancellation of the events which provide greenlife inspiration and horticultural advice for millions of Australians.

In the knowledge that an unprecedented health crisis of this magnitude requires unprecedented action in order to protect the health of all Australians, these decisions are appropriate and necessary in the circumstances.

While Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) fully supports the decision of organisers to cancel the events, we consider particularly the impact on our State Association Members of NGIV and NGIWA who will feel the financial effect of these decisions.

We also want to acknowledge the contributions of event sponsors, the livelihoods of event exhibitors; the volunteer hours and support by industry and particularly our Members in ensuring the success of these events.

GIA also acknowledges the far-reaching consequences to those who have bought tickets and made travel arrangements to be inspired by the plants, trees and shrubs on display.

Decisions regarding future events and conferences

NGISA has cancelled the South Australian Trade Day for March, which was scheduled for this Wednesday 18th. According to an email earlier this morning, NGINA will proceed with the NSW & ACT Trade Day which is scheduled for the same day.

Garden Centres of Australia (GCA) are encouraging Independent Retailers to take a common sense approach to trading as the situation evolves. Momentum for Garden Releaf on 22 March will continue to build as this is a good news event highlighting the health benefits of plants and gardening; and fundraising for Beyond Blue. Participating businesses are asked to keep GCA informed of their plans and activities in this regard.

GIA will keep you informed about decisions relating Industry trade days and events as they are announced over the coming weeks and months, including:
  • Hort Media Association of Australia (HMAA) Laurels Awards Night, 24 March, Melbourne
  • International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS) Conference 20-23 May, Geelong
  • Hort Connections, 15-17 June, Brisbane
  • QLD Garden Expo, 10-12 July, Sunshine Coast
  • Green Expo, 4-5 August, Gold Coast.

Looking forward

Greenlife Industry Australia is actively monitoring the situation and will continue liaison with major greenlife customers and input suppliers. We’ll share updates and key decisions with Members so you may adjust planning for the weeks and months ahead.

We are hopeful that as social isolation measures are implemented across the country, Australians spending more time at home, will find reasons to invest in improving their indoor and outdoor spaces with greenlife. We also hope that commercial nursery production will continue to thrive as the desire for fresh food and vegetables increases.

The industry collectively, has proven its resilience time and again. The challenges and disruption we face today only serve to teach us more about our passion and prepare us for the future. Just as greenlife does, our united industry will adapt to its new environment and will continue to promote the benefits of plants to Australia and all Australians.

More information?

As the COVID-19 situation is extremely dynamic and rapidly evolving, Members and key stakeholders are encouraged to share their concerns and any information updates via the industry’s national crisis hotline on 1300 905 643.

GIA’s calendar of events will be updated to reflect the decisions regarding scheduled events. Other information will be shared via our website and social media. Where immediate updates are required, a Member Alert will be issued.