As we come to the end of another financial year, we are again faced with uncertainty and border closures due to COVID-19. It appears we will continue to live and work with these conditions for some time to come. The most important point is to ensure we don’t become complacent and continue to be able to modify our operations very quickly as the operating conditions changes.
In this CEO update I will provide an overview of the key activities that have been undertaken and progressed over the last month.
Greenlife Industry Australia Board Meeting
The GIA Board met on 22 June with the key items of business being governance, financials, strategy implementation, nursery industry insurance, Hort Innovation, the Australian Plant Production Standard and staffing arrangements in light of recent and impending staff movements. The Board has a particular focus on the financials as we look to close the 2021 financial year with a slight surplus and finalise the budget for FY22 for approval.
Advocacy is a key imperative for GIA, and Glenn Fenton and I had a meeting with Minister Littleproud last week in Canberra. We were both lucky to get there given the evolving COVID situation. We discussed a range of issues including biosecurity, quarantine, the greenlife industry importance to horticulture, Hort Innovation and acknowledged the Minister’s support of the industry as an ‘essential service’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. More details are contained in the separate article in the newsletter.
Caption – Peter Vaughan (CEO) and Glenn Fenton (President) meeting with the Federal Agriculture Minister Hon. David Littleproud in Parliament House.
Greenlife Industry Careers Hub
After the completion of the Nursery Industry Careers Pathway project, a number of outputs are now available for the greenlife industry. An excellent output is the Greenlife Careers Hub which is a one-stop shop for prospective employees and employers looking to enter the industry, recruit new staff or develop themselves professionally. This new hub includes training support networks and systems, a skilled careers promotion toolkit and promotions, a web-based central training resources hub and a career jobs and pathways guide with case studies. Full details are contained in the separate article in this newsletter.
Polypropylene Plant Packaging Recycling (PoPPr) Program
An industry workshop for the PoPPr program was conducted on 22 June with around 30 industry participants attending. The PoPPr program is the greenlife industry approach to developing a ‘circular economy’ approach to the recycling of all plastic plant packaging used.
The objective of the workshop was to provide an update on progress with the program. The most important achievement is the completion of Stage 1 – Business Case Development. Peter Allan of Sustainable Resource Use conducted the work to develop the business case and presented his findings at the workshop. The most important message from Peter was that there is “strong confidence in achieving circular recycling for plant packaging in Australia and become a world leader”. The next phase of the program is Stage 2 which is the design of the recycling scheme.
Plant Health Australia (PHA) Meetings
One of the biannual meetings of PHA was held over 31 May and 1 June. It was a hybrid meeting with a number of attendees being in Sydney with the majority online. The format worked reasonably well, the key being have a very good IT technician and good IT equipment. The meetings included the Plant Industry Forum, PHA General Meeting, PHA Members Forum and Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed Signatories Meeting. John McDonald (on-line) and I (in-person) made it through the two days.
I am the Chair of the Plant Industry Forum which covers the particular areas of interest in plant biosecurity for plant industry members of PHA including – Greenlife Industry Australia, 30 peak industry bodies for fruit, vegetable and nut production, grain producers, grape & wine, forest products, cotton, cane growers and rice growers. The members of the plant industry members of PHA contribute around $40B to Australia’s farm gate value.
Caption - Peter Vaughan with Minister David Littleproud
The Plant Industry Forum also had a presentation from the Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud. Minister Littleproud has a particular interest in plant biosecurity and how it contributes to safeguarding the $40B sector and assisting to achieve $100B Australian Agriculture farm gate value by 2030. The Minister’s presentation focused on the recent biosecurity announcement of the $400M within the recent federal budget announcement, and how it will provide more “boots on the ground, paws and technology” to help protect Australian Agriculture.
Horticulture Innovation Australia
A number of Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) meetings have been conducted since late May. The agenda items included Marketing investments going forward, Strategic Investment Plan, Horticulture and Greenlife Sustainability Framework, Extension activities, Communication program and financials. Discussions are continuing on how to position and progress the consumer and government marketing campaigns. On a good note, levy income for this financial year will be significantly higher than previous years, which is a sign of the buoyancy of the industry and a delayed effect of pots sales being reported due to COVID.
Nursery Innovation Case Studies
One of the most important ways to improve how businesses operate is to compare, learn and benchmark against peers and other businesses. Within the GIA eNews and the levy funded communications program we are always looking for ways to showcase the adoption of innovation within businesses which can also be a way of promotion for your business. If you have any ‘adoption of innovation’ case studies you would like to share with industry please contact me.
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