#HPHP 2020 and Industry Recognition Awards

Despite an extreme summer of soaring temperatures and oppressive bushfires, earlier this month, over 225 industry delegates, representing 140 businesses met in the beautiful city of Perth for the Healthy Plants Healthy People national conference.

The conference which spanned three days from 3-5 March acknowledged a significant year for the industry and association in that:

· 2020 is International Year of Plant Heath (IYPH).

· The Levy marketing program 202020 Vision is transitioned to Greener Spaces Better Places.

· It was the first Conference for the nursery industry’s new peak body, Greenlife Industry Australia.

Attended by delegates from all nursery industry sectors including greenlife production, allied suppliers, retailers and landscapers and allied associations, the conference featured thirty-five speakers including Damon Gameau of the 2040 initiative; Hort Innovation CEO Matt Brand; Ben Peacock from Republic of Everyone; Futurist, Gihan Perera and rescue cave diver, Dr Craig Challen.

International Year of Plant Heath featured throughout the conference both indirectly through the inclusion of the subject by presenters and on exhibition stands; and directly in addresses from Bill Crowe from the Operational Science and Surveillance team at the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment as well as Michelle Portelli, Australia’s IYPH Coordinator addressing the delegates at the dedicated conference function for IYPH at Perth City Farm.

The conference concluded with the Industry Recognition Dinner at Fraser’s Kings Park where Greenlife Industry Australia President Glenn Fenton, presented Life Members in attendance, Geoff Richards and David Cliffe with their GIA Life Membership Pins. The NGIA Board also presented its final recognition awards to:

· Leigh Siebler Award of Honour

· Glenn Fenton Life Membership

· Colin Groom Life Membership

Overall, the conference feedback is positive, especially following the challenges related to 19/20 summer of extreme heat and bushfires; and the impending spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) which makes the conference feel long ago.

As with every conference there are certainly areas for review and improvement however it was pleasing to see that 84% of evaluations received rated the conference presentations as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’; 80% rated the Perth location as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’; and 80% rated the time and opportunities for networking as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Thank you to all who attend the conference and especially to those businesses who opened their doors for the tours. A special thank you also to the NGIWA Board and the Conference Committee for their dedication to the conference coordination. And finally, we acknowledge the support of the conference supporters, Hort Innovation, Garden City Plastics, ICL Specialty Fertilisers, BioSecure HACCP, Norwood Industries, Ball Australia, Hort Journal, Benara Nurseries and Perth Business Events.