With the beginning of Spring less than a week away, are you prepared to make the most of this vital sales and promotion period for the nursery industry? Many production, retail and allied nursery businesses across the country are still experiencing uncertainty and challenges caused by COVID-19 and the changing operating environment imposed by State and Territory Governments.
In my equivalent update last year I opened with “As the second wave of Coronavirus (COVID-19) starts to ‘flatten’, hopefully we can approach Spring in the knowledge that we have the relationships, systems, protocols, practices and plans in place to anticipate and manage any further challenges that COVID-19 may throw at you, your business and the industry in general.”
This year the message is similar except to open with “As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to take hold, hopefully we can approach Spring in the knowledge that we have the relationships, systems, protocols, practices and plans in place to anticipate and manage any further challenges that COVID-19 may throw at you, your business and the industry in general.”
In this update I will provide an overview of Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) activities being undertaken to support members and the industry as we progress into Spring in light of COVID-19 and other challenges and opportunities.
Greenlife Industry Australia Board Meeting
The next GIA Board meeting is on Tuesday 21 September. The key item of business is for the Board to review and approve the second audited financial statements for GIA for the 2020/21 financial year. The audited accounts will be provided in the GIA Annual Report which will be circulated for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) organised for Tuesday 23 November. Details on the AGM will be provided in due course.
The GIA Board and management have continued to maintain a very close watching brief on all aspects of our advocacy and communication activities with respect to COVID-19 from a national perspective. We have also maintained close contact and engagement with the State NGI Association Member Executives, to ensure the complete nursery network is aware of issues across borders, and to aid and support as and when required.
The Board is also progressing important appointments for GIA. They have engaged Executive Intelligence, an experienced executive recruiting company to assist their selection committee. They have advertised nationally utilising a variety of mediums.
The board is also undertaking the process to manage the election of two directors at the next AGM. The Nomination Committee has been appointed but with one change, Josh Byrne will be substituting for Alistair Hill as the Board representative and will work with Sonja Cameron and Paul Boland. Board nominations open on Friday 27 August and close Friday 8 October.
GIA and State NGI Executive Meetings
I continue to conduct fortnightly meetings with the State NGI Association Executive. The first item of business is to have an overview of the COVID-19 situation at a State and Territory level and its impact on member businesses in affected areas. We discuss what can be done from an advocacy and communications point of view to support businesses. This is an important way for us to share experiences and learn from ‘each other’s lessons’ with what has happened over the country with different lockdown and easing of restrictions scenarios. Check with your respective NGI Association for lockdown restrictions, financial support and ‘click and collect’ tips.
Federal Government Advocacy
GIA representatives continue to make representation to the Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and the Federal Department of Agriculture. We maintain contact with respect to COVID-19, but this is now managed at the State and Territory level of Government primarily.
We are continuing our interaction with the Minister’s Office and the Department on establishing a grower register, linking it to greenlife traceability and conducting a nursery stock importation trial. At the time of writing I was waiting to hear from a department representative on the nursery register and plant traceability project and will provide more detail when available. The nursery stock importation trial will be progressed in the future as four importation trials are being progressed with four selected companies and the outcomes of these trials will set the scene for further work.
GIA is a member of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Hort Council and the NFF has been unrelenting in its call to Government for the introduction of an Agriculture-specific Visa to give farmers access to the workforce they need. NFF has advised that “In a monumental commitment, the Federal Government has delivered on the National Farmers’ Federation’s long called-for Agriculture-specific Visa (Ag Visa) to provide real long-term workforce relief to Australian farmers.
I would again encourage you to go ‘back to basics’ with COVID-19 and ensure you have, follow and update a COVID-19 Safe Plan in the operation of your business for the health and safety of you, your staff, suppliers and most importantly customers. Also, continue to follow the basics around physical distancing, washing hand and ensuring your business is able to adapt to operate and trade, no matter how the operating environment continues to change and evolve.
If you require any further information, have an interest, have advice, want to provide a comment and/or be involved in addressing any of the industry challenges or opportunities, please contact me at email@example.com.
CEO - Greenlife Industry Australia