President Report | Wrapping up the year that was

Last week, GIA successfully completed its first Annual General Meeting and, in accordance with the Constitution, we commenced a process of annually replacing two Board Members elected by members, rather than appointed by the State Associations. The fact that the Nominations Committee received several resumes from a diverse and highly qualified group of applicants demonstrates the high level of interest shown in the important work being undertaken by GIA. Well done to everyone involved in the process.

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

I like this quote, as it goes to the heart of our industry. At the NGIV Trade Day earlier this month, I spoke to several business owners – allied, growers and retail, and we reflected on the last 12 months. Their comments were incredibly positive about the state of the industry and the outlook over the next year. This is in stark contrast to the feeling this time last year when we were being gripped by drought and fire.

At the start of the pandemic, when GIA made the case with the Federal Government for classifying our industry as “essential”, we did so in full knowledge that our industry had the supply chains, procedures and agility to adapt to the changes that were foreshadowed over 2020. Other countries such as the UK and NZ were not as successful and their greenlife industries were shut down.

As an industry, we worked collaboratively, and we worked hard with every level of Government to ensure that our industry was strongly represented as Governments sought reassurance. Our businesses were incredible - particularly retail, in adapting their internal processes and marketing to the restrictions and the changing nature of purchasing greenlife. All our businesses kept our people safe as we fed the supply chain, and in the end, this kept our industry open. A breach at any level would have been catastrophic. We have been stretched, but not broken and this, above all, goes to the resilience and hard work of the people in our industry. Thomas Jefferson had it right - you have made your own luck this year through hard work and determination and you deserve all the benefits that follow.

I have no doubt there will be hurdles and setbacks as the nation recovers from this pandemic. To counter this, the Government has invested heavily in employment, manufacturing, housing, technology, and infrastructure and the Greenlife Industry is well positioned to benefit from all these developments - but our work is only just beginning

Industrial relations reform measures have been in the sights of the federal government since May 2020 with formal working group consultation ending in September.

This week, Attorney General Christian Porter announced the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020would address five key areas of industry relations reform around casuals and fixed term employees, award simplification, enterprise agreements, compliance and enforcement and greenfield agreements.

GIA will be watching these reforms closely and will keep Members informed as information is released.

With the national transformation well underway, I am honoured to be elected as President to again lead GIA into 2021 during this formative period of operation for the national nursery industry represented body.

On behalf of the Board of Greenlife Industry Australia, I would like to thank the Staff and Members of GIA for all their hard work and wish them all the best for the festive season.