President's Report April 2020

The last two months have seen extraordinary times for the World, our Country and particularly for our Industry. Back in March, just one week after the first national conference for GIA concluded, the Prime Minister announced the first wave of restrictions and stimulus packages.

It is thanks to the combined efforts of the industry in swiftly adapting and following the guidelines that our businesses have been allowed to continue to trade when many cannot. While the threat of the pandemic has not passed, Australia has achieved comparatively better statistics and as such an opportunity to jump into an economic recovery sooner than others.

Alliances and unity
A unified industry allows us to represent our issues at the highest level and it allows clear lines of communication. The industry restructure project team made this a high priority in its deliberations. Sector representation and strategic alliances were also a strong focus of the Transition Team and the hard work and investment has been vindicated.

Alliances have been incredibly important in bringing together interested parties to voice concerns or to communicate information. The alliance between GCA and GIA has been incredibly important and allowed a strong voice on retailing issues and opened clear lines of communication.

This month I have visited several retail and grower businesses across Victoria, NSW and Canberra and contributed to a retailer webinar. The feedback from businesses and webinar participants has been very positive. Many commented on the increase in online browsing and purchasing, with those who have developed this capability reporting very good sales. E-commerce opportunities for our industry are available and these times have taught us all about the need to be digitally agile.

Finally, being an industry member during the good times and during a crisis has never been more important. It is a small investment when you consider the prospect of being unable to trade in a crisis. GIA, your national industry association, has been out there protecting your investments during this crisis, keeping greenlife supply on the national agenda and leveraging opportunities - and the associations needs your support.