NGIA CEO update – 30 April 2018

Hi Everyone

On 20 April 2018, I completed three years as CEO of NGIA.  One meeting I attended in April, was like being back to the beginning of my time at NGIA. During my first week at NGIA on 22 and 23 April 2015, I attended a Hort Innovation workshop to determine how the nursery industry levy should be invested for the next five years.  On 10 April this year I attended a Hort Innovation workshop to determine how the nursery industry marketing levy should be invested for the next five years.  The sense of similarity was palpable and a clear indication we need to do more to influence the investment of OUR (the nursery industry) levy.

For the nursery industry marketing program, at least one thing has been consistent over the last three years.  The basis of the 202020 Vision Program being we will aim for “20% more green space in urban areas by 2020” and it appears this will continue.  The one challenge we do face is what to do with the name of the program beyond 2020. However, the basis of the program should remain as “20% more green space”, as it will always deliver more greenlife sales.

There is currently a Request for Proposals from Hort Innovation for how the marketing program should be managed over the next five years.  Applications close on 21 May.  I am not sure if it is as simple as calling the program 202030, 202040, 202050, etc but it could always have a caption of 20% more green space by a certain date. Interestingly, another measure has been announced by the NSW State Government to boost Sydney’s existing tree canopy from 16 per cent to 40 per cent by 2030.  I will keep you advised of developments with the next phase of the nursery industry marketing strategy.

In this April 2018 edition of the NNN Enewsletter, I will only address the current status of development of the Future Model for OUR Industry.  There is plenty of additional material to read and consume including further reports from the National Conference, a biosecurity alert and the Plant Life Balance (PLB) campaign app winning an international award.  The importance of the PLB promotional campaign provides a link to the article by Gabrielle Stannus on “What grows up must grow down …”

Future Model for OUR Industry – An Update

Over the last two years, there have been two reviews of the NGI Network structure, one to determine the future model for our industry and the second to address and clarify key elements and recommendations from the first.  As background, the key reason why the reviews were conducted was the financial viability of the NGI Association Network.  The income to the NGI network has declined in recent years due to declining membership and less available levy funding to the NGI network following the transition of Horticulture Australia Limited to Horticulture Innovation Australia.  The declining income has impacted the profitability and viability of NGI Associations in the NGI network.

The review process has been completed.  There is general support for the proposed National Unity Model for OUR Nursery Industry.  Some final clarification has been requested around the financial model, how to handle “heritage” assets, events and history and the members benefits to be delivered with the resources available.

Following the handing down of the second report in November 2017, there has been a number of meetings of the NGIA Board and the State NGI Presidents, CEOs and other representatives.  There was also a session for members conducted at the National Conference in February.  The next meeting of the NGI executives will be held on 15 May with discussion around the financial modelling, benefits for members and how to manage the heritage items within each association.

The key aim of the Future Model for OUR Industry will be to deliver coordinated and consistent benefits to members due to the following factors:

·      One management structure, one Board, one database, one website, one set of accounts, one financial audit, one communication program, one point of contact for sponsors, partners, supporters and members – leading to greater financial efficiencies.
·      National, regional and local representation for members in a coordinated fashion.  The aim is to ensure all members have equal access to benefits provided by one organisation.
·      Coordinated approach to the delivery of programs such as technical and business support, biosecurity, communication, marketing and promotion, R&D projects, business accreditation programs, training and education, advocacy and lobbying and networking.
·      One organisation working to deliver coordinated and united activities, services, benefit and value to all members.

I attended a recent presentation on Rural Transformation which included a session on “The way we organise ourselves to achieve our goals” and “crafting an organisation to achieve new outcomes”. This provided important insights for representative organisations, like those in the NGI network, as there needs to be “innovation” by Industry Service Bodies to:

i.        Help members “accelerate” what they do.
ii.        Do what cannot be done easily by an individual.
iii.        Help shape the direction of industry to make them more successful.
iv.        Orchestrate change for the industry to make it better.
v.        Make and save money for members.

These are all “innovations” that could be achieved by a single organisation under the Unity Model.

At the meeting on 15 May an action plan will be developed to finalise arrangements to progress to a vote of members for the Unity Model.  The aim is to conduct the vote at the NGIA AGM on 14 November 2015.

As usual, please contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or concerns on the operation of NGIA and this edition of the NNN email.

Kind regards,
Peter Vaughan