While there appears to be a lull in coronavirus (COVID-19) urgency, the strong message from the Federal, State and Territory Governments and health authorities is to continue to “keep your distance”. As an industry we cannot afford to become complacent and undo all the good work that has been undertaken to keep the greenlife, nursery, garden, landscape and horticulture industries operating and able to trade.
The messaging around washing hands well and regularly, maintain good hygiene and keeping a 1.5 metre distance continue to be reiterated in all media channels and it is vital the Government guidelines around these measures are adhered to for your, your staff and your customers safety.
We are also continuing with keeping a watching brief on the COVID-19 situation to keep you aware of developments and if increased restrictions are reintroduced if there are new outbreaks or incursions.
The GIA Board met last week, and the Directors are formulating the next phase of industry advocacy to continue to advance the industry as we emerge into a “new normal” operating environment.
Safe Work Australia - National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles
The Board discussed the importance of the COVID-19 pandemic being recognised as a public health emergency, and that all actions in respect of COVID-19 should be founded in expert health advice, and that the 10 principles developed to operate subject to the measures agreed and implemented by Governments through the National Cabinet process.
While Safe Work Australia has developed the principles nationally, and there are also State based Work Safe Departments, that have specific requirements for implementing workplace health and safety requirements in each state. It is up to the State or Territory how they are enforced so please check the respective legislation and requirements.
Advocacy for Member Businesses and Greenlife Supply Chain
The meetings with the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment through the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and Horticulture Council are now scheduled fortnightly. While the importance and urgency of primary production being considered an ‘essential service’ has waned slightly as the restrictions have eased, I will continue to pursue an acknowledgement by Agriculture Ministers of the list, so if the situation changes and restrictions are raised again, they have a base list of ‘essential services’ to work from.
The Minister for Trade, the Hon. Simon Birmingham, was on the teleconference last week due to all the concerns on agricultural exports, in particular meat, grain, fruit and vegetables, that does impact a significant portion of the NFF members. The nursery industry is somewhat fortunate and protected given that we have a limited export market.
I am convening fortnightly meetings with the State NGI Association Members of Greenlife Industry Australia to maintain our alignment and coordinated approach to managing and communicating the COVID-19 situation. The key issue discussed at the recent meeting was around Safe Work and WHS requirements on National, State and Territory levels.
We are also looking at the next phase of areas to address including communications, careers, the Nursery Award, member benefits and promotional activities.
CEO Greenlife Industry Australia.
As the COVID-19 situation is extremely dynamic and rapidly evolving, Members and key stakeholders are encouraged to share their concerns and any information updates via the industry’s national information hotline on 1300 905 643. Additional information and resources are also available at www.greenlifeindustry.com.au. Where immediate updates are required, an Alert will be issued.