This is my third last CEO update for the Greenlife Industry Australia with my imminent finish date of 30 September. However, there is still much to be completed over the next couple of months, including completing the GIA financial audit for the 2020/21 financial year, ensuring industry businesses remain able to trade and operate during the continuing COVID-19 ‘presence’ in Australia and ensuring a systematic handover of my activities to ensure their momentum is maintained. In this update I will provide an update and overview of some recent key meetings and activities.
Greenlife Industry Australia Board Meeting
The GIA Board met on 20 July with the key items of business being governance, financials, strategy implementation, nursery industry insurance, Hort Innovation relationship, the Australian Plant Production Standard and staffing arrangements in light of recent and impending staff movements. The Board had 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.
The Board also discussed and determined the approach to recruit the new CEO for GIA and finalised the Nomination Committee to manage the selection of Directors at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 23 November. The Nomination Committee will consist of Alistair Hill, as the GIA Director Representative, Sonja Cameron and Paul Boland. More details on both activities are detailed in a separate article in the GIA News.
National Nursery Business Register
The Australian nursery industry provides the starting plant material for all horticultural sectors across the country. Establishing a complete National Nursery Business Register will allow the ability to ‘track and trace’ nursery planting stock across the various supply chains to manage plant pest incursions and outbreaks across the country. A proposal to establish a register has been submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The objectives in establishing a national nursery business register are to:
Increase, improve and maintain markets to manage risks to market access domestically and internationally.
Encourage agricultural productivity and manage risks to agricultural productivity.
Support sustainable, high-quality natural resources and manage risks to natural resources.
Nursery Stock Importation – Proof of Trial Concept
In recent years, the importation of nursery stock (tissue culture, budwood, seed, vegetative material) and other production inputs (growing media substrates) have met several process and systems challenges. Nursery stock had become increasing problematic to import with plant material rejected, mismanaged in quarantine or provided to the importer in very poor condition.
GIA submitted an application to be considered for one of the ‘Proof-of-Concept Trials’ to reduce red tape and biosecurity regulatory costs for importers and agricultural businesses under the ‘Faster biosecurity border clearance program’. GIA has requested funding to work with specific industry businesses to conduct a proof-of-concept nursery stock importation trial, with the aim to improve quarantine times, costs and processes. Also, GIA managers have and will continue to work directly with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) and Quarantine representatives with the aim to improve the service and processes of nursery stock importation.
Polypropylene Plant Packaging Recycling (PoPPr) Program
The first meeting of the PoPPr Program Steering Committee met on 21 July. The committee is made up of representatives from businesses across the nursery supply chain and will provide guidance on the design of the PoPPr scheme.
The recycling scheme design work is being conducted by The Activ Group (TAG) who have vast experience in this field. Their product stewardship experience ranges from strategic planning, running programs (e.g. Mobile Muster); operations management (Paintback); and for the batteries scheme, TAG provided advice on scheme design and are now the technology partner for the Batteries Stewardship Council.
Some design principles TAG considers essential for the success of the scheme are that it is:
An open system - a closed system acts to decrease innovation and commercial opportunities for the ecosystem; and it becomes cost focused which limits success. Open systems mean everyone sits “in the tent” but allow participants flexibility to operate within the scheme in their own way.
Economically stable - in TAG’s experience, price dynamics can change rapidly. What is economic today, may not be economic in the future. We need to design a scheme with the long-term financial mechanisms in mind so if it becomes uneconomic for any reason, the scheme can flex and adjust to continue to provide outcomes.
A Circular Economy – the scheme needs to remain open minded to all the different circular economy applications and the waste hierarchy. The scheme should be designed to support those concepts.
Horticulture Innovation Australia
A number of activities and interactions are being progressed with Hort Innovation including:
Peak Industry Body/Hort Innovation Relationship
If Hort Innovation believe “the fundamental concept of levy investment is beneficial to industry”, then they have a duty to work with industry to develop a better methodology for implementing this. Hort Innovation believe the time has come to talk openly about how PIBs and Hort Innovation work together and the structure we need in place to achieve this. Hort Innovation will run a series of facilitated workshops held in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne throughout August and September.
Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP)
The SIAP representatives provide advice on the investment of the R&D and marketing levy. GIA is looking to work with Hort Innovation on how to manage a turnover of SIAP representatives to ensure new and fresh ideas and advice are provided for the investment of the levy.
The nursery levy income for FY20/21 is expected to be the highest result at least the last 10 years. The R&D levy income is $1,877,403 and the marketing levy income is $1,331,602 to 31 May 2021, which is around 40% more than for the same period in the previous year. Significant levy was received in May which is a ‘lag effect’ from the increased sales of pots due to COVID-19.
Hort Innovation recently completed the development of an all of Horticulture Sustainability Framework which the GIA Board supports. GIA will now use the framework as the basis to lead and drive the development of a nursery industry-based sustainability action plan.
Greener Spaces Better Places (GSBP)
Hort Innovation representatives are progressing with the GSBP marketing program for the investment of the nursery levy. It will include how the consumer campaign will progress going forward. GIA representatives will work with Hort Innovation staff on how Plant Life Balance will be ‘used’ going forward.
GIA Levy Funded Projects
The projects that GIA is currently involved in delivering are listed below. The progress, outputs, outcomes and case studies from these projects are communicated thorough the levy funded communications program, primarily through Your Levy @ Work:
NY18001 – Nursery Industry Communications
NY20001 - National Biosecurity and Sustainable Plant Production Program
NY17009 Improving Pest Management for the Nursery Industry
ST19024 Digital remote monitoring to improve horticultures environmental performance
Vale Eric ‘Don’ Fleming
8 May 1935 – 22 July 2021
One of Australia’s finest nurserymen and second-generation owner of Fleming’s Nurseries, Eric ‘Don’ Fleming, sadly passed aged 86 last week following a short battle with cancer on 22 July 2021.
Don was best known for his dedication to his work. Born into the nursery business after father, Eric Fleming, established the nursery growing rootstocks on their Monbulk properties, Don and his siblings were all active and willing participants in the growth and development of the nurseries right up until the 1980’s. In 1984 Don and wife Dawn, took over the sole ownership of Fleming’s Nurseries Pty Ltd.
This was an exciting time for Don, Dawn and sons Graham and Wes. Many changes and developments were made during this time, and Don’s absolute dedication and passion was the driving force. Don and Dawn retired in the late 1990’s.
On behalf of the Greenlife Industry Australia Board, staff and members, our condolences are expressed to Dawn, children Dani, Graham and Wes, and the extended Fleming’s family.
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