#

Member Update: NGINA Board & member discussions regarding restructure of Industry associations

On Tuesday, 26 March, the NGINA Board and General Manager met with an invited group of association members representing a cross section of business types (growers, retailers, allied product/service providers).

The purpose of the meeting was to:

* Update members on the planning processes for the possible restructuring of nursery industry associations at state/national levels,

* Elaborate on the current NGINA Board thinking on restructure proposals,and

* Gather feedback from key NGINA members on these proposals and the priority services they require from state and/or national nursery industry organisations.

Andy Cameron , a member of the NGIA restructure transition team was also in attendance, and he provided an update on the process being undertaken by that team.

Key messages from the meeting were:

* The need for improvement of service delivery for members at both state and national levels.

* Some members believe that the 'unity model' proposed by the original restructure review process (i.e. dissolve state associations and then form a new national nursery industry representative body) is the best way to proceed and supporters highlighted the successes in other industries that have taken this pathway. It was acknowledged that the financial viability of such a body has some risk when the reliance on heritage assets by the three major current state associations (NSW, VIC and QLD) for delivery of services is factored in, and recognition that these assets must be protected for the state membership that has generated them.

* There was consensus that select priority services should be delivered at a national level, and that others are best delivered at a state level (refer to summary provided below).

* There was general support for the further investigation of a new, hybrid national nursery industry entity, however the consensus was that significant work is still required in defining the structure, membership and financial viability.

Additional issues explored and suggestions raised included:

- The need for a 'lean' national organisation, possibly Canberra based.

- Membership and funding of this national body by the state associations is logical, of concern though, is that a number of state organisations have either folded or are not financially viable to continue.

- There is some logic in having direct membership of this new national body by nursery businesses (those that are in states without a state association and/or those businesses that have a national focus and believe the only services they require are at a national level). However there is concern about 'competition' developing between the national body and remaining state associations for membership, and about a potential lack of clarity between the services to be provided by the national body and the state associations.

Services for nursery industries best delivered at national or state levels:

National

- Advocacy to key federal government agencies responsible for biosecurity, education, environment and the national and international horticulture industry development.

- The design and administration of national accreditation and registration schemes for nursery businesses.

- Coordination of biosecurity planning and responses.

- Planning and management of national marketing initiatives to grow the industry, and

- Development of national remuneration/employment standards (awards).

State

- Collaborate with education providers to promote awareness of career opportunities and to design and deliver training courses to provide the skilled workforce required.

- Support special interest groups of nursery industry businesses (such as growers and suppliers, independent retailers) and allied industry businesses (such as landscapers, garden maintenance), and regional groups.

- Trade days.

- Annual industry awards.

- Implementation of accreditation and registration schemes.

- Business and technical advisory services for members, and

- Advocacy to key state government agencies responsible for environment (water), planning, and education.