By Joanna Cave – Chief Executive Officer
I am delighted to introduce myself to Hort Journal readers. Before joining GIA, I was for 25 years CEO of various peak bodies and not-for-profit organisations in the UK and then Australia. Along the way, I qualified first as a horticulturist and then as a landscape designer, initially in pursuit of a private passion that swiftly became part of my professional life as I found myself working in Australian horticulture. The role at GIA feels like the destination I was always travelling towards.
Whilst I would be the first to say that there has never been a better time to work in Australian horticulture during this time of unprecedented interest in and demand for plants, there are huge challenges facing the sector. How do we encourage the new generation of gardeners emerging from the COVID crisis to convert their lockdown hobby into a new way of life? How do we as an industry shape the perception of a career in horticulture to attract more people to choose us for work? How do we influence government to include horticulture in their thinking when developing policies in sustainability, climate change, food security and urban greening?
We work in the most life-affirming sector there is and together we have a vital role to play in the health and happiness of our nation. I look forward to hearing what you think and feel about these issues, so please treat this as an invitation to get in touch and tell me what’s on your mind. Together we can harness the abundant energy and optimism in the sector to create a dynamic, sustainable future for Australian horticulture. I look forward to the challenge ahead with great excitement.
So what’s happening this month
Changes are in the air at Hort Innovation Australia (HIA), the government agency responsible for the management of levy funds raised by Australia growers and boosted by contributions from Federal Government.
In 2021, HIA communicated its desire to ‘reset and refresh’ its relationships with the Australian horticultural industry. Industry consultancy, Seftons, was commissioned by HIA to conduct candid interviews with all the peak bodies serving the sector. The findings resulted in HIA coming to the view that changes need to be made to the advice mechanism, in other words, the process by which industry influences the research and development projects that are paid for by the levy.
HIA has recently announced its intention to offer each levy paying sector the opportunity to re-design the advice mechanism to suit its individual needs. HIA is open-minded about what these new models might look like, and have acknowledged that some sectors may choose to maintain their existing advice mechanism whilst others might opt to make changes.
GIA is one of the four peak industry bodies recently appointed to a HIA working group, the purpose of which is to help inform this process of change which kicks off in June with a series of industry workshops taking place in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Whilst the dialogue is only just beginning, it’s a great opportunity to consider the possibilities and I’ll be sure to keep you informed of progress.
Meanwhile, for more details, follow this link