NGIA CEO update

Hi Everyone

I hope you are having a flourishing and fruitful spring across your respective businesses. In this NNN update I will provide you with details of my key meetings and activities for September:

NGIA Board Meeting – the Board met on 12 September with the key item of business to approve the audited financial accounts for the 2016/17 financial year. They were approved by the Board and full details will be provided in the NGIA Annual Report. The Board also discussed the progress of the Structural Change Advisory Committee with the structure review, the Nursery Production Farm Management System Program, the National Conference and Hort Innovation R&D and marketing activities.

The next meeting of the NGIA Board will be on 13 and 14 November. The NGIA Annual General Meeting will be held on 14 November. The Board meeting will include a joint session of the NGIA Board, State NGI Presidents and CEOs and the members of the Structural Change Advisory Committee (SCAC) to have an update and discussion on the current status of the NGI structure review process. The attendees will work through the findings of the SCAC in addressing key points and recommendations from the structure review report last year and to outline the next steps in the process.

Nursery Industry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) – the nursery SIAP, which is charged to provide advice to Hort Innovation on the investment of R&D and marketing levies met on 19 September. The SIAP received an update on the 202020 Vision Program, in particular the Plant Life Balance campaign. Two important pieces of work – “Where should all the trees go” and “How to speak engineer” – have been completed. The outputs and findings of this work will be interpreted to further engage with Local Government Authorities (LGAs), residential, commercial and industrial developers and the landscape professions to ensure prominence of “green space” in any planning and developments they are undertaking.

Plant Life Balance – The SIAP was also provided an update on Plant Life Balance (PLB), which is the “new” consumer focussed campaign within the 202020 Vision program, building on PLB’s past activities and successes. NGIA has signed an agreement with Hort Innovation that will allow them to use the PLB trade marks and associated IP and signed a Trade Mark Assignment Deed that assigns the recently applied for trade marks to NGIA. NGIA is supportive of the proposed use of the PLB trade mark and associated IP and we look forward to seeing this campaigns results in raising awareness of the benefits of greenlife with consumers.

The PLB campaign has had some activity to date, mainly engaging with retail members of the NGI network. The official launch will be in October which will hopefully provide a “kick along” to Spring sales and provide additional promotion of plants as we head into the festive season. A second phase of PLB promotion will be delivered pre-autumn to support sales early in 2018. The new PLB campaign is planned to run for three years.

Canberra Meetings - I had a number of meetings in Canberra during September with advisors to Minister Joyce and Senator Ruston and representatives of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). While some of my representation in Canberra was as a Director of the Voice of Horticulture (VoH), I also ensured the activities and issues of the nursery industry were highlighted. The main points of discussion at the meetings included the Hort Innovation Constitution and their Board selection and appointment process, relationships with Peak Industry Bodies and the VoH strategy for representation in Canberra.

One of the meetings with the DAWR representatives was particularly important to discuss the Levy Reform Process. If you purchase “containers” (pots, bags, etc) for plants then you are a levy payer. The levy is used for R&D, marketing and biosecurity projects and activities across the industry. If you are interested and have any comments on this, please refer to the article in this NNN newsletter for more detail on the Levy Process Reform.

International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) Congress – Mike Mehigan and I will attend the AIPH Congress in Taiwan in the last week of September. NGIA is the member of AIPH and the congress provides Mike and I the opportunity to represent the Australian nursery industry on the international stage. We will have the opportunity to understand global developments and activities on Green Cities, the Environment and Plant Health, intellectual property protection and marketing and exhibition activities.

NGI CEO Meetings – I continue to convene monthly teleconferences of the NGI CEO representative network to provide updates on NGIA activities and to obtain an understanding of activities on a state, regional and local level. The meetings allow for comments and discussion across the NGI network so we all have an understanding of the key issues as well as acknowledging key achievements.

As usual please contact me ceo@ngia.com.auif you have any questions, comments or concerns on the operation of NGIA and any feedback on this edition of the NNN email.

Kind regards
Peter Vaughan NGIA CEO