NGIA CEO update – 30 November 2016

Hi Everyone

November was an extremely busy month and I will provide a brief overview of the key activities, meetings and issues that have been managed by NGIA and I to ensure on-going representation and support for you, your business and your industry:

NGIA Annual General Meeting:

The AGM was conducted on 15 November and the key item of business was the election of Directors – David Howard for Victoria, Geoffrey Fuller for South Australia and Karen Brock for Tasmania for a two year term.  They join Mike Mehigan (NSW), Simon Smith (NT), Colin Groom (WA) and Paul Lancaster (Qld) who are completing the second year of their current term.

Mike Mehigan was again nominated and endorsed as President and Karen Brock was nominated and endorsed as the Vice President for the year to the next AGM.

NGIA Board Meeting:

The NGIA Board met over two days on 14 and 15 November.  At each Board meeting there are standing agenda items dealing with Governance, Minutes and Actions, Financials, NGIA Strategy 2016 – 2020 and Horticulture Innovation Australia.

NGIA Structure Review:

As has been advised in the attached media release, a key item of business at the November Board meeting was a session between the NGIA Board, State NGI Presidents, CEOs and other representatives and the structure review committee (SRC).  The session was organised to receive a presentation from the SRC on the review report and determine how to progress the recommendations.

The two most pressing areas of work being progressed are the appointment of a steering committee to manage the implementation of the review recommendations and to develop a terms of reference for this committee.  The NGIA Board has proposed a committee structure and we will work with the state associations to finalise the number and members on the committee. The terms of reference for the committee with then be finalised to address this single most important issue for the nursery industry going forward.

Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA):

I have engaged with HIA on a number of levels including their Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP), the development of the nursery industry Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for the investment of levy funds, attended steering committee meetings for the two biosecurity projects, submitted a project proposal on nursery industry statistics and attended their AGM.

The SIAP met on 16 and 17 November and worked through the following areas:

·      202020 Vision marketing program – in particular the consumer marketing campaign
·      The research and development (R&D) project proposals
·      The R&D and marketing project portfolio and budget
·      HIA communications activities
·      Development of the SIP

A draft of the SIP is now being finalised and will be available for review and consultation with nursery levy payers.  The key outcomes identified in the plan are:

1.    Demand and sales of green life products to increase by 4% per annum plus CPI
2.    Reduced inputs and/or cost per unit produced through innovation
3.    Industry knowledge improved to enhance marketing efficiency and business decisions
4.    Improved productivity, profitability and professionalism through adoption of best practice
5.    Australia’s nursery industry assets protected from exotic, emerging and endemic pests and diseases
6.    Have 80% of levy payers understand levy funded projects and how this will underpin long-term sustainability and growth of the industry
7.    Career and leadership development to ensure industry is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities

The horticulture industry statistics handbook has been released by HIA and can be found at:

Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook 2015/16

The most significant figure in the handbook is the value of the nursery industry at $1.13b., which makes it the largest single horticultural product in Australia and the only single product with a value greater than one billion dollars. Attached is a media release that has been distributed to highlight the importance and value of the nursery industry to Australian horticulture.

202020 Vision (20V) Program:

The 20V Program is continuing with its focus on influencing Governments, Developers and Schools and in 2017 will implement its campaign for consumers.  As an excellent “kick start” to activities in 2017 the 20V Program has been acknowledge and announced as a winner at the highly regarded Banksia Sustainability Awards within the Sustainable Cities category – media release attached.  This is an outstanding achievement for the 20V Program as this is the most prestigious sustainability awards program in Australia.

Plant Health Australia (PHA):

John McDonald and I attended the following PHA convened meetings during November:

·      PHA and Animal Health Australia (AHA) Joint Industry Forum
·      PHA Plant Industry Forum
·      Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) Signatories Meeting
·      PHA Annual General Meeting

These meetings are vital for John and I to attend to ensure we are aware of all key biosecurity issues that impact on the nursery industry, including R&D, surveillance, diagnostics, EPPRD policy, operation and administration, and our engagement on the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (ECCP) and the National Management Group respectively. They also provide us with important networking opportunities with like-minded industry representatives who have plant biosecurity as their key area of importance and responsibility.

Voice of Horticulture (VoH):

The VoH is the peak horticulture industry group representing the industry representative bodies (IRBs), such as NGIA. The VoH AGM was conducted late in November and I have another year in my current term as a Director to serve.  They key areas that I have been involved in directly with the VoH have been the development of a strategy for all of Australian Horticulture and a joint initiative between IRBs, VoH and HIA on industry information.

The joint initiative is to progress the development of a levy payer register which will assist the nursery industry develop a national register for nursery businesses.  This has been identified as a priority from the structure review and vital to industry from a biosecurity point of view.

The VoH has also been proactive and vocal on the backpacker tax and ensuring it is set at an appropriate level to encourage backpackers to Australia, while not putting other workers at a disadvantage. While backpackers are more important in production horticulture for seasonal activities, they also contribute to the nursery industry employment requirements.

Plant Breeder’s Rights Consultative Group (PBRCG):

The PBRGC has been established to replace the PBR Advisory Committee and consists of 12 external members from important organisations in the field of PBR.  NGIA is one of those organisations, given the importance of PBR to the industry, and I am the NGIA representative on the group.

The Group’s Terms of Reference are:

·      To discuss, review and exchange information on important PBR issues which may impact on Australian practice, policy and/or legislation;
·      To monitor developments in PBR issues in international fora and determine any potential impacts for the Australian system;
·      To provide feedback on plant breeder’s issues of interest to IP Australia; and
·      To assist IP Australia to shape PBR for the benefit of all Australians.

The first meeting of the PBRCG was conducted on 24 November and I will keep you advised of developments and outputs from the group and on PBR.

Please contact me at ceo@ngia.com.au if you have any comments or would like to raise any issues with me on any of the activities being progressed by NGIA.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards

Peter Vaughan
NGIA CEO