CEO Update February

As we close in on the end of another Summer, I hope things have settled down in your business following the holiday season and from the varying climatic conditions across the country, and we have more conducive conditions for the production, buying, selling, planting and curating of greenlife.

In this update I will provide details of the key activities and developments managed by myself and the NGIA office over February.

NGIA Board Meeting:
The NGIA Board met in early February with the main items of business being the industry structure, the Conference in March 2020, the Nursery Production Farm Management System, The Australian Garden Centre Accreditation Scheme (AGCAS) and the Nursery Industry Biosecurity Plan.

The Board agreed to support a project to review, refine and develop a new model for the delivery of AGCAS. There have been attempts to do this over recent years, with false starts, and the Board has now received a viable approach which will now be progressed.

The Board also supported a review and update of the Nursery Industry Biosecurity Plan with Plant Health Australia. The Plan needs to be updated every five years under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed and will set the direction for industry investment and management of plant biosecurity for the next five years.

New National Nursery Industry Body:
A reminder and to clarify that at the joint session of State NGI Presidents and invited members and the NGIA Board, consensus was reached to establish a new national body where businesses and associations can be members. More detail on the work of the Transition Team to develop an information memorandum for the new body is contained in this NNN Newsletter.

Horticulture Innovation Australia
Your nursery industry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) held a meeting on 26 and 27 February. The SIAP provides advice to Hort Innovation on the investment of the nursery industry research and development (R&D) and marketing levies. Excellent progress has been made with a number of projects across the R&D portfolio, including:

Global Nursery Research Review – the project is close to completion and it has identified the following areas to be addressed (i) Resource use efficiency; (ii) Reducing the environmental footprint; (iii) Reducing production costs; and (iv) Obtaining a better understanding of end user needs. International R&D organisations have been identified as possible collaborators.

Nursery Industry Statistics 2017/18 – 2019/20 – the first year of surveying for this three-year project has been completed. The 2018 data collection for production nurseries will build on the data collected in 2017. The 2018 survey also included retail nurseries and landscapers to validate the production nursery figures. The findings will be released over the next few months with a nursery paper, webinar and an updated production nursery benchmarking tool.

Career Pathways Project – this project is also close to completion following detailed consultation with the nursery industry. Various approaches to addressing the issues around attraction, retention and development of the nursery industry workforce will be proposed in a strategy, which will be delivered in the next few months.

Levy Investment Portfolio – a review of the levy investments across the five outcomes of the Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) (i) Demand; (ii) Knowledge; (iii) Plant Protection; (iv) Productivity; and (v) Careers has been completed. It will provide an approach to identify gaps, under and over investment in the outcomes, to assess the balance of the portfolio for realignment.

Nursery Industry Communications Program – The next phase of the nursery industry communications program between NGIA and Cox Inall Communications has commenced for another three years. It will focus on delivering nursery papers, social media, Your Levy @ Work blogs and newsletters, case studies, media releases and the pest of the month. In addition, “facts at a glance” from the Statistics Project and podcasts will be delivered. You can provide your comments and feedback on the program through this survey link - https://t.co/xE735dlEuE

Please complete the survey if you have time – it does not take long.

More detail on the above projects and all other levy funded R&D projects will be provided through the various communications channels.

Comments, Questions?:
As usual if you have any comments, questions or require further information or clarification on my update or NGIA’s activities, please contact me at ceo@ngia.com.au