Turf Australia appointed a new national CEO in early January, with Matthew Lunn joining from the Nursery & Garden Industry Western Australia.
Turf Australia has had a notable role in the horticultural industry for a number of years, particularly by supporting turf farmers across Australia with their extensive levy programs in collaboration with Hort Innovation.
Matthew Lunn sees his appointment as the perfect opportunity to refresh Turf Australia and bring it further forward in line with other notable peak bodies. He says, “The turf industry has such a large role to play when we think about greenlife as a complete picture. For the past six years my work has very much been working with growers around trees and native or ornamental plants in supporting local government greening programs, as well as the home gardener. My focus now is to extend greenlife into the turf arena and give it a prominent position amongst all other plants that are here to support climate change”.
Whilst turf is often seen as a high maintenance component of any landscape, Lunn feels that there needs to be an overhaul of the general perception it has. “There is no doubt landscapes would almost feel bare without a swathe of grass to walk on, and in recent times new varieties of grass have come onto the market that are more drought tolerant, resistant to high wear, and in some cases require less mowing. As you walk down a residential street you see a variety of lawns, either well-kept or looking almost neglected, and here lies the problem. Immediately there is a mindset that the poor-looking lawn is in that condition because it just won’t grow. In fact, no one questions if the owners are at fault and not the grass”, says Lunn.
Turf Australia’s future direction is twofold. On one hand it will actively work with the 250 or so turf farm levy payers in areas of Research and Development, and Business Development via their Turf Industry Development & Extension program. On the other, it will work through their advocacy program, engagement with commonwealth, state, and local governments, as well as key consumers across the landscape industry, to not only enhance turf’s role in the environment but it’s sustainability as a living plant.
As a peak industry body, Turf Australia looks as though it’s future is bright even with the ongoing battle with synthetic grass making its mark, particularly in the home garden market.
Turf Australia acknowledges it has some way to go to convince people that natural, living turf is the way to go.
Main photo: Turf Australia has some way to go to convince natural living turf is the way to go (Image: Turf Australia)