In March this year, when the full impact of the COVID-19 virus was making itself apparent on the Australian economy, Glenn Fenton, President of Greenlife Industry Australia, chaired an exceedingly difficult Board Meeting of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. "Our 25th Anniversary Show was about to commence, and exhibitors and suppliers were loading trucks in preparation for the ‘bump-in'", he writes. "In many respects, the Australian and Victorian Governments made the decision for us, as they had just closed the Australian F1 Grand Prix and other events, however the shock on our industry’s premier horticultural event and the wider industry were profound. Since then, the Board and owners have had to imagine what a “COVID normal” show might look like in March 2021 and plan accordingly. While Victoria continues with its interrupted recovery, this task has become even more difficult.
"From a business perspective, the industry has done remarkably well in adapting to the changes in trading conditions. This has mostly been reactionary and very necessary. However, while the search for a vaccine continues, it is incredibly important for the industry to assume that the virus will continue to affect our businesses for quite some time ahead. The wider effects on the national economy are only just starting to present themselves and its incredibly important for our Association to ensure the Federal Government’s current and future support packages meet the needs of our businesses. However, as is the case with MIFGS, we need to look forward and imagine what the business trading conditions might look like and plan accordingly. KPMG recently hosted a webinar on what a post COVID Australia might look like and they saw four stages that outline the path through recovery."