CEO Update June 2020

Welcome to the mid-June 2020 update from Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA). As we approach the winter solstice and the depths of winter, hopefully we will have a different operating environment in the second half of the year.


As we approach the end of the financial year, I would encourage you to seek advance on leveraging the COVID-19 stimulus package benefits, be it instant asset write offs, accelerated depreciation, job keeper payments or SME Loan Guarantee Scheme.

Over winter, GIA aims to capitalise on the opportunities identified and actioned recently, to support members of GIA leading to spring. This will include our advocacy to the Federal Government, particularly the departments of Housing, Agriculture and Health. We will continue to highlight and promote the importance of greenlife generally and maintain promotional activities across the three key supply chains of retail, landscape and production horticulture. We will also work to establish regular meetings with the newly established national alliance of landscape, turf and greenlife.

In this update I will address some of the key issues and activities for GIA.

Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) Board Meetings
The next meeting of the GIA Board is scheduled for 21 July and it will be conducted as teleconference. The two remaining Board meetings for are scheduled for September and November, with the November meeting also including the Annual General Meeting. I will keep you advised of key agenda items and meeting arrangements, so you are aware of when key decisions and activities are progressed by the GIA Boards.

The Board is looking to establish a number of strategic and operational committees to provide insights and advice to assist in guiding the next phase operation for GIA. The committees are based around the strategic imperatives and key operating activities for GIA and include Finance, Investment and Partnerships (Funding), External Relations (Advocacy), Promotion, Sustainability and Careers. Each committee will be led by a Director and the terms of reference and process of recruitment are being finalised. More details will be provided in due course. The committees will be an excellent approach for members to provide support and guidance to GIA.

Nursery Award
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and a number of other industrial relations activities, interest has been expressed in conducting a review of the Nursery Award, to ensure it meets the requirements of businesses going forward in a ‘new’ operating environment. While the Nursery Award 2020 was finalised earlier this year, after a lengthy ‘modernisation’ process of review of the 2010 Award, there are still a number of clauses that have been raised to be reviewed, modified and hopefully simplified.

GIA will work with the State NGI Association Members on how best to progress the review. Craig Taberner of NGIV has drafted a discussion paper, which recommends that upon understanding the process, timelines and potential cost, that a Sub-Committee of select people with the relevant skills and experience be established, and help with the review.

Nursery Industry Business Insurance
As advised in the previous GIA news, we are conducting a review of nursery industry business insurance, with an assessment of requirements of member businesses, current arrangements and insurance underwriter businesses. A discussion paper will be prepared and provided to the GIA Board for review and to assess the options available. The aim is to ensure we have the best solution to providing nursery industry insurance to members.

Career Pathways
Career pathways is a priority for GIA which has been outlined in imperative four of our strategic plan. As such we actively sought involvement in the careers pathway project through Hort Innovation, successfully partnering with RM Consulting Group to deliver the outcomes of:

  • Facilitating the targeted design and delivery of training programs; and
  • Developing and showcasing jobs and career pathways that demonstrate dynamic career opportunities within the nursery sector.

Outside of this project GIA is developing a national Careers and Training Strategy focusing on the priority areas of

  • Raising awareness and interest in working in the industry;
  • Addressing policy parameters including the development of a training support framework; and
  • Establishing an ‘industry employment hub’ that includes human resource management practices, recruitment process, advice and advertising and showcasing career pathways.

Grant opportunities have been identified to support these activities and GIA is currently preparing submissions before the end of the financial year.

FINALLY, but importantly remain COVID-19 Safe
As the COVID-19 situation continues to stabilise and restrictions are eased, we must continue to remain vigilant in how the industry businesses continue to practice and implement the Government guidelines around health and hygiene and social and physical distancing. The simple rules being implored by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer continue to be:

1. Wash hands regularly
2. Maintain social and physical distancing
3. Download the COVIDSafe app
4. Get tested if displaying flu like symptoms – including fever, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath

We will continue to maintain a watching brief on the COVID-19 situation and will engage with Government Departments and other industry agencies as required to provide the most up to date information to members and the industry generally.

Please contact me at ceo@greenlifeindustry.com.au if you would like to provide comments or have questions on the activities of Greenlife Industry Australia.