CEO Update May 2018

Welcome to the NNN newsletter for May 2018. I will provide you with an overview of the key activities that I have been involved with to support the operation of your business.

Future Model for OUR Industry

The NGIA Board, State Presidents and CEOs met again in May to determine the next stage in progressing to the Future Model for Our Industry. There is still general support and goodwill to progress to a single entity under the Unity Model for managing the industry association activities. The next step is to develop a business plan that will put the detail around the financial model, governance requirements, regional structure, member benefits and how to handle the heritage, legacy and historical events and assets of the NGI network associations. The aim is to have the business plan by the end of July with the next meeting to the NGI Executive group planned for early August. The business plan will synthesise the outputs from the two reviews and provide the rationale, details and value proposition for the Unity Model entity.

Hort Innovation

A meeting of the nursery industry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SAIP) was held on 28 and 29 May. The key item of business was to select the organisation to develop and implement the nursery industry levy funded marketing strategy for the next five year's. This will take us beyond 2020 with a new marketing vision for what we are trying to achieve as an industry. Other items on the agenda included a review of the current activities in the 202020 Vision Program including Plant Life Balance, a summary of the R&D portfolio and assessment of proposals and updates on the two Hort Innovation Frontier Funds of particular interest to the nursery industry - The Green Cities Fund and The Leadership Fund.
I attended the Steering Committee meetings for the nursery industry’s two biosecurity projects - NY15004 Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program managed by John McDonald and NY15002 - Building Biosecurity Resilience managed by Andrew Manners. Both projects are progressing well against their milestones with more detail provided in the regular articles in levy funded communications program.

Plant Health Australia (PHA)

The biannual PHA meetings were held on 29 and 30 May. These Meetings provide an opportunity for industry signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) to meet and discuss issues around the EPPRD. The meetings include the Plant Industry Forum, the PHA Member Forum, the EPPRD Signatories meeting and the PHA General Meeting. John McDonald and I attended the meetings as we sit on the Consultative Committee for Emergency Plant Pests and National Management Group respectively to ensure the nursery industry is represented on all plant biosecurity issues with respect to emergency plant pests and when there is an incursion.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) - Levies Branch meeting involved the discussion of three levy issues:

  1. Levy Process Reform - DAWR has conducted a review of its levy setting and changing process over the last year and are now in the process of finalising a new approach to simplify the process for establishing, setting and changing levies. This is important if the nursery industry wants to change it's pot levy and how the levy is allocated over R&D, marketing and PHA. The levy “sunsetting” of legislation has now been aligned to April 2023 when 24 pieces of legislation will “sunset”. DAWR is preparing for how this will be addressed with the aim of making the legislative framework work better and be more responsive.
  2. Levy Payer Register - A proof of concept pilot program for the grains industry has been completed. There is now a system that can be used to establish levy payer registers that should be available in July this year. Hort Innovation is the entity that can establish the levy payer register for horticulture including the nursery industry. I have approached Hort Innovation to determine if they will progress with establishment of the register. This is vital for the nursery industry so we can develop a grower register primarily in support of biosecurity.
  3. Levy Collection Agents - NGIA has been advised of a number of businesses that sell “containers” for plants that are not on the nursery levy agent list. NGIA will bring these business to the attention of the levy branch so they can approach them on their obligation to pay levy if required.

Plant Breeder’s Rights Consultation Group (PBRCG) I attended the PBRCG meeting as the nursery industry representative. The key items of business included an update on policy and legislation and how intellectual property (PBR) is managed in free trade agreements. My presence on the group is to ensure the nursery industry is kept aware of all PBR issues, policy and legislation.

As usual if you have any comments, questions or require further information or clarification on my activities, please contact me at ceo@ngia.com.au