Federal Ministerial progress update & business contingency plan

Dear Members and Stakeholders

I hope you and your staff are safe and healthy as we continue to modify our mode of business operation and life with the ever-evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Please be aware and ensure you follow Government advice and guidelines around health, hygiene and social distancing. You can find this information at www.health.gov.au.

I will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 and the implications for your business. As mentioned earlier, I will send communiqués on Tuesdays and Fridays or as required if there is a critical update to be provided.

The areas we continue to focus our attention include the following:

Workplace Health and Safety

You must continue to follow the Government guidelines and instructions from a workplace health and safety perspective. In particular from a hygiene and social distancing point of view. A number of resources for your business are available HERE.

Member businesses and greenlife supply chain

We have continued to make representations for growers and the three largest greenlife customer groups of retail, landscape and production horticulture to keep businesses and the greenlife supply chains open.At this stage, production and retail nurseries and supplier businesses are open and continue to trade. We understand the importance of keeping your business open for as long as possible to maintain your livelihoods and at the very least being able to keep your plants alive.

We have again written to the Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and are working with other Federal Government ministries and departments to keep businesses open. We provided Minister Littleproud with details on the greenlife and nursery industry across Australia again, and that by definition, businesses fit under the classification of primary producers.

At this stage, nursery industry businesses including growers and retailers can continue to operate and trade under the published restrictions around indoor and outdoor gatherings and social distancing.

However, information received from our international colleagues overseas including from UK, Ireland and New Zealand, is of a strong possibility that trade will eventually temporarily cease. We estimate, that at any one time in excess of $4 billion of nursery stock is actively growing in Australia. So in anticipation of further restrictions, we have requested Government allow businesses to be able to continue to undertake restricted operations to keep plants alive due to their perishability.

It is important and I strongly urge you to develop a contingency plan, if and most likely when your business is required to cease trading for a period of time. You can download a business contingency plan template HERE.

We will advise if a plan is required by the Government to ensure you can still access your business in the event of an increased shutdown and have offered to assist the Government to manage this process.

Stimulus Package

We have provided details of the first two stimulus packages and will provide details of future packages if and when available, noting the Prime Minister indicated today a third package will be announced in the coming days. The details of the first two stimulus packages can be found HERE.

Greenlife Industry COVID-19 Marketing Campaign

We have progressed the development of a Greenlife Industry COVID-19 marketing campaign with the aim to support consumers with easy home garden activities and to facilitate a recovery launch into Spring 2020.

A Committee has been established and a consultant has been identified to develop and implement the campaign. This is an Association managed project which will be operating in parallel to the levy funded activities.

To fund the plan, the GIA Board has approved seed funding of $25,000 which will get the consultant engaged and started. I am seeking expressions of interest from any Member or Key Stakeholder who would like to financially contribute to the campaign in a cooperative funding model. All contributions will be recognised and acknowledged equally, and contributors provided with regular campaign updates.

A key imperative of GIA is to promote the benefits of the greenlife industry through the use of common language across the supply chain. Therefore, I am calling upon the industry to come together and support this initiative. Please contact me (0400 739 802) if you require any further details on the plan and if you would like to contribute funding.

As always, if you have any specific experiences that require attention through government process or other items to address from a member perspective, please email peter.vaughan@greenlifeindustry.com.au.

Peter Vaughan
CEO Greenlife Industry Australia.

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.