We caught up with Ian for a quick interview at our industry trade day for 2022. Great to also have some insights into how the NGIQ operates and serves the industry. Thanks for your time Ian, we shall see you again soon!
My name is Ian Atkinson. I'm the CEO of Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland, which is the organization that represents the professional nursery industry in Queensland. I think the day has gone quite well. It's always interesting to hear the latest developments from people who are servicing the industry, and the speakers have generally been of good quality. The industry has come out of a couple of very buoyant years. Indications at the moment are that demand has certainly tapered off, but I don't think it has eased back much. Nationally, we seem to be doing a reasonable job of holding on to the new gardeners that came on board during COVID-19. If we can keep doing that, then I think we've got a very positive future.
Days like today are quite important. Over the years, we've had Field Days run by programs at NGIQ's or programs run in other ways. This is just a slightly different version of that in terms of it having a focus, particularly on the suppliers and what they're doing. But one of the key things about today is not just hearing from the speakers and what the speakers are talking about, but the interaction that occurs informally between growers who don't see each other very often or between the suppliers and the growers. And that exchange of information that occurs informally is just as important for a day like today.
The Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland represents three different sectors of the industry, and that is the growers, obviously, retailers, particularly independent retailers, and the third group is the suppliers of goods and services both to retail nurseries and to production nurseries. One of the benefits of being involved with NGIQ is you get networking opportunities, but also, you have us lobbying with the government in regard to the industry. For instance, one of the big pushes in the last couple of years is to remind the state government that we are an agricultural industry and that we're valued at a billion dollars here in Queensland now. We're a very large employer, and we need to get that into the government's mind so that when they're making decisions, they're not thinking about us in terms of being some sort of cottage industry. So that's one of the key things that NGIQ does.