CEO Update October 2020

I hope that your businesses continue to be prosperous as we progress through Spring and workplace activities continue to some type of new normal, in particular in Victoria with the easing of some restrictions. There have been significant challenges with adapting to a new way of operation, but as the industry representative body, Greenlife Industry Australia(GIA) with the State Association Members have been working together to support member businesses during this period of change.

The GIA Board meets on 10 November and the key items of business include ongoing COVID-19 advocacy and communications requirements and activities; accounts and finance reporting; strategy implementation and role of board committees; the Australian Plant Production Standard; and GIA on-going interactions and relationship with Hort Innovation.

Greenlife Industry Australia Board Committees
The GIA Board has been very strong on establishing committees to provide advice and oversight on the organisation’s strategic imperatives. The committees that have been established and their members are:

Special Purpose COVID-19 Response Committee - Josh Byrne (Chair), John van der Horst, Robin McLay, Tim Pickles, Carl Heyne, Carole Fudge, Marc Patterson, Matt Ross, Kobie Keenan, Sonya Gifford. The committee is now transitioning to the boarder Promotions Committee and existing members have been invited to continue on with a boarder Greenlife promotion objective.

Sustainability - Alistair Hill, Davina Boyd, Geoff Richards, Paul Boland, Nick Jacometti, Nathan Wells, John McDonald and Kobie Keenan. The first committee meeting as held today, 22 October and will be jointly chaired by GIA Directors Alistair Hill and Davina Boyd.

Careers – Karen Brock (Chair), Sonja Cameron, Daniel Ewings, Jim Pratley, John Rayner, Colin Hunt and David Reid. The careers committee has met already to provide advice on GIA’s nursery careers pathways project and some members of this Committee sit on the Project Reference Group for the Careers, Training and Development project being delivered by GIA in conjunction with RMCG Consulting.

We are in the process of finalising the representatives and terms of reference for the Advocacy and Finance committees. The activities for these imperatives are currently being overseen by Glenn Fenton and I (Advocacy) and Brain Acworth, Shannon Edey and Sonya Gifford (Finance).

Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The first AGM for GIA will be conducted on Wednesday 2 December. It will be conducted on-line so all members will be able to ‘attend’. The key items of business will be the election of two Directors to the Board and approval of the audited financial accounts for the 2019/20 financial year.

Under the first rotation of Directors, Glenn Fenton and Brain Acworth were selected by lot to ‘voluntarily retire’ from the Board. Glenn and Brian can reapply for the Board under the GIA Constitution. Applications close midnight AEDT, Friday 23 October 2020, with all applications to be considered by the Board Nomination Committee for endorsement.

Australian Plant Production Standard
An important item of business for the GIA Board at the November meeting will be to review, discuss and determine how the APPS programs will be managed and delivered over the next few years. A commercial review of APPS, that has been conducted in the following three stages, is being completed:

Stage #1 - Health check assessment of the current commercial viability;
Stage #2 - Identify operational gaps and financial shortfalls should APPS stand alone as a commercial fee-for-service activity; and
Stage #3 - Validation, analysis of options and road mapping

The APPS is fundamental to underpinning nursery businesses’ and the industry’s plant health, biosecurity and sustainability activities and credentials. It is a vital component in delivering an on-going levy funded biosecurity program which is currently being progressed by Hort Innovation. The current project NY15004 – National Nursery Biosecurity Program is contracted to conclude in December this year and GIA has submitted a proposal to deliver the program going forward for five years.

Polypropylene (PP5) Plant Packaging Recycling (PoPPr) Program
A second workshop to progress the industry PoPPr program was conducted on 13 October. Around 50 industry representatives and stakeholders attended the workshop. The aim of the program is to transform the use of PP5 plant packaging into a ‘material circularity’ recycling program, where packaging material is recaptured and returned for reuse voiding landfill.

Some of the key elements of a circular program to be progressed are:

  • Explaining how and why industry should do this - guidance to ensure most sustainable packaging choices.
  • Rolling out collection systems as widely as possible - to increase access and maximise recovery.
  • Educating consumers to recycle pots/trays/labels/stakes, etc – priming for potential expansion of collection program to incorporate other packaging materials.
  • Obtaining commitment by industry to utilisation of PP as the primary polymer used in ornamental horticulture.

GIA Digital Platform
We are in the process of implementing a new digital platform for GIA with a new database and website and management of the server. The aim is to have the new platform operational before the end of the year. We will keep you advised of developments and how it will provide benefits to members of GIA.

Grand Final (and Gardening) Weekend
For those of you who follow the football (AFL, NRL, both), this weekend will provide some respite from the challenging year we have endured. If you don’t follow the footy, then I hope you continue to find similar respite in your gardening and greenlife or other activities over the weekend.

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