NGIA CEO update – 30 November 2017

Hi Everyone

As we close in on the end of Spring, I hope it has been a successful trading period which continues up to and during the festive season.  November was a particularly busy month with many meetings and activities that needed to be conducted and completed before the end of the year.  Below is an overview of some of the meetings and activities conducted:

1.     NGIA Board

The NGIA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and a NGIA Board meeting were conducted in mid-November.  The new Board was appointed at the AGM and now has the following representatives:

Karen Brock, President – Tasmania
Paul Lancaster, Vice President – Queensland
Geoffrey Fuller – South Australia
Ben Grange – New South Wales and ACT
David Howard – Victoria
Ross Hooper – Western Australia

Karen was elected as President and takes over from Mike Mehigan who had four years in the role.  Paul Lancaster takes over from Karen as the Vice President.  David and Geoffrey are continuing as their respective state representatives and the Board welcomed Ben and Ross as new members.

The Directors of the Board acknowledged the efforts and commitment of the three retiring Directors – Mike Mehigan, Simon Smith and Colin Groom – who completed their maximum three terms for two years.

2.     NGI Structure Review

There was a joint session of the NGIA Board, the Presidents and CEOs of the State Associations and the members of the Structural Change Advisory Committee (SCAC) for the delivery and presentation of the SCAC report.

The National and State Board representatives thanked the SCAC members for the work they had undertaken, given the scope of the terms of reference and the time to deliver the report.  There was still good acknowledgement and support of the need to change the existing structure to one organisation, but clarity would need to be provided to you the NGI members around the following areas:

·               Services and benefits to members
·               Structure and Governance around the single industry organisation
·               Financial model, including membership levels
·               The regions and how resourced and managed
·               Preservation of the State NGI Heritage, Assets and Events

We are in the process of preparing and finalising a summary document of the SCAC report to provide details of the key recommendations.  We are aiming to provide this document to all members in the December NNN newsletter.

Two important messages from the SCAC and contained in the report are:

“The Committee sees the revised Unity Model as an opportunity for the industry to increase the level of technical support to members by converting waste and duplication into more on-ground technical support.”; and

“The Committee has been very mindful of preserving the assets, heritage and events that have been built over many years and at the same time building a model that will deliver increased member benefits into the future.  The potential to transition successful elements from each state across Australia was a major opportunity for our industry.  To achieve the unity model requires a coordinated “whole of industry” approach.”

3.     Plant Health Australia Meetings

John McDonald and I attended the biannual Plant Health Australia (PHA) meetings that include the Plant Industry Forum, the Members Forum, the Emergency Plant Pests Response Deed Signatories and the Annual General Meeting (AGM).  The meetings cover a range of issues, primarily around Biosecurity, which is vital to the productivity and prosperity of the nursery industry.

The PHA Board has three new faces and a new Chair and Deputy Chair, following their AGM.  The new PHA non-executive Directors are Dr Prue McMichael, Mr Kim Halbert and Mr Doug Phillips.  At the PHA Board meeting on 23 November 2017, Mr Steve McCutcheon was appointed as Chairman and Mr Robert Prince as Deputy Chair.

4.     Plant Breeder’s Rights Consultative Group Meeting

I also attended the biannual Plant Breeder’s Rights Consultative Group (PBRCG) meeting during November.  The key items discussed at the meeting were legislative changes, the PBR policy register, disclosure of information on parentage, trade mark searching and PBR e-services.

An interesting statistic from the meeting is that the Top 5 Genera protected for PBR in the last year were:

i.        Solanum – tomatoes and potatoes
ii.        Prunus – stonefruit
iii.        Malus – apple
iv.        Vitis – grapes
v.        Lactuca – lettuce

5.     Hort Innovation AGM

The Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) AGM was conducted in November with the resolutions for voting by members being:

Resolution one was to change the composition of the Director Nomination Committee to add a levy payer.  This was supported by the Hort Innovation Board, and more than 98 per cent of votes saw the change pass.

Resolution two was to adjust the composition of the Board to five elected directors and four appointed directors. This was supported by the Hort Innovation Board, and more than 99 per cent of the votes were in favour of the change, leading to it being implemented.

Resolution three was to change the voting rights of members to one member, one vote, rather than votes being calculated on the amount of levy paid. This resolution was not passed as 18.5 per cent of voters voted in favour of the change and 80.55 per cent voted against it.

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

Kind regards,
Peter Vaughan