Update on COVID-19 impact on industry

Dear Members and Stakeholders

Greenlife Industry Australia is working with other industry associations, retailers and government to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the industry. The situation is evolving quickly, and we will keep you updated of developments in a timely manner.

Specifically, I have raised the importance and necessity of the greenlife industry operating ‘essential businesses’ directly with the Department of Agriculture and we are in continued liaison. I have also had direct contact with the office for the Minister for Agriculture, the Hon David Littleproud, to reiterate this message and the importance of the health and well-being benefits of greenlife and gardening.

This is particularly for the federal government to acknowledge the supply of ornamental and primary production horticultural greenlife as ‘ essential’ for Australia’s food supply and security and the physical and mental health of Australians at a time when many are practising self-isolation, social distancing and working from home.

We are also aware through our discussions there were some concerns around access to inputs for plant nutrition and pest & disease management (fertilisers, pesticides, etc) having regard to international trade and operation of port facilities. My discussions with the Hort Council and the National Farmers’ Federation and reports from industry indicate that there are no critical shortages at this stage.

Pleasingly, we have had reports from retailers and growers indicating that greenlife sales are strong, with more people practising social isolation measures and spending time at home and gardening, including growing their own produce.

I have specifically requested information from Hort Innovation on how they plan to adapt the levy marketing programs of Greener Spaces Better Places and Plant Life Balance activities, to encourage people to spend some of their ‘additional’ time towards local, and home-based activities involving greenlife and gardening.

In addition to this, the GIA Board are considering association funded approaches to support an additional short, targeted campaign to bolster the mental health and physical activity message and encourage positivity within the community and support retail sales of greenlife.

2020 is the International Year of Plant Health and in this time of uncertainty there is never a better moment to promote both the health and well being; and food security objectives of greenlife.

We have developed some resources to support industry businesses at this time. A Factsheet and Workplace Guidelines; Tips for managing employees, contractors and customers; and a workplace poster in two sizes, are available for download HERE.

We will keep you informed of our progress on these fronts and other developments.

If you have any specific experiences that require attention through government process, please email peter.vaughan@greenlifeindustry.com.au.

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 information hotline on 1300 905 643. Additional information and resources are also available at www.greenlifeindustry.com.au. Where immediate updates are required, an Alert will be issued.