Well! What a year it has been. Earlier today you were sent an email with a brief list of all the team at Flower Industry Australia have been working on diligently behind the scenes.
We always anticipated the first year of this wonderful association would be filled with government engagement and working through many previously neglected industry nuts and bolts but the advent of Covid 19 changed the ballgame considerably forcing Flower Industry Australia into devoting time and resources into immediate government liaisons around the logistics and complications of this pandemic.
On the face of it the flower industry despite immediate concerns has fared reasonably well from the growers perspective due to the freight issues with imported flowers and the Covid 19 issues in the exporting countries.
Less imported flowers translates to much stronger demand for locally grown flowers, coupled with the desire consumers have to connect with home grown products.
More sobering is the dire situations our florist members have found themselves in during this pandemic. The emotional upheavals of going into and out of lockdown have been immense. The financial impact and loss of revenue has been sorely felt by many of our florist members in both the retail and events sector.
Please remember that Flower Industry Australia is here for members to reach out to when you’re feeling overwhelmed by industry challenges.
Whilst there may be nothing we can do on many fronts, in the event of accounting and legal problems we can link you with our partners in those areas.
If it helps you to write an email to vent your thoughts, they are always welcome.
As we said earlier, we have achieved many things over the past year and we will provide links in future emails for you to read about in more detail.
As we move forward into our second year, we hope to work through the roadmap out of the pandemic and focus on some fund-raising and networking events. Of course all this is dependent on member interest.
We welcome your thoughts and feedback.
After all, this is your industry association and your concerns are often the concerns of others too.
So one of the projects we invested a lot of last year’s time on is Country of Origin Labelling. The decision whether to include cut flowers into the next stage of Country of Origin Labelling has been delayed. Currently it is still on the ministers desk and a quick change of minister in the last few days from Christian Porter to Angus Taylor probably means further delay. A letter to Mr Taylor will be drafted tomorrow to find out the status quo.
This coming year the Board of Flower Industry Australia will continue with CoOL, encouraging clean imports & health for florists and biosecurity management. Importantly and additionally the board wants to focus attention on the issue of “Order Gatherers”.
This subject will require a great deal of input from our florist members to establish the issues and the impact so we can look for workable solutions.
A successful association is an association which is transparent and open to working through the issue together.
We are very aware the smaller growers would like interaction with the bigger growers and likewise with the florists through events and perhaps workshops. We hope to achieve these aims in a timely manner.
In saying that if there are any members who have any skills or expertise to offer we are very welcoming to all. Beginning an association is challenging at the best of times and we understand how much time and effort people need to put into their own businesses during this pandemic…..but if there are skills out there…..please contact us.
This year, Lucy from Pennyweight Farm assisted Anna and her team greatly with facts, figures and a public petition around CoOL and we were very grateful.
Dr Isla Fitridge was instrumental in alerting the Department of Agriculture to the reality of the invasive pests coming into this country on imported flowers.
You all might have heard about the Serpentine Leaf Miner outbreak in NSW late last year which resulted in the pest being declared endemic.
The result of this has really hit home recently with WA imposing really strict import regulations on domestic flowers from Victoria, making life quite difficult for the WA flower industry and impacting on the Victorian growers who send to WA. ( contact FIA by email if you require more information).
Clean imports coupled with healthy florists and industry chain workers are important to all of us.
We look forward to meeting you all in time at the end of this pandemic which has changed everyone’s lives.
We wish you all well and we hope dearly your businesses are tracking along acceptably until we hit better times.
All the best in flowers,
Flower Industry Australia Board