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ISSUE 53

SUMMER 2015/16 MAGAZINE OF BRISBANE MARKETS LIMITED

source

AGM confirms ownership strength

Development

progresses on site

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Your source of fresh information for the fruit and vegetable industry Print post approved pp 100001181

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Our year

in review P16


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CEO COMMENT THE PRICE OF SUCCESS It is a bitter sweet ending to what has been a highly successful 2015 for the Brisbane Markets. Sweet? The strength of industry-based ownership of the Brisbane Markets has been reiterated with the delivery of another record net operating profit after tax for Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) for the year ended 30 June 2015. We are seeing the results of our commitment to improving existing, and investing in new, infrastructure with demonstrated consistent growth since Brisbane Markets’ privatisation in 2002. Take a look at how we have performed on pages 6 and 7. Bitter? BML received an unsolicited, hostile and conditional takeover bid from Produce Markets Queensland, a wholly owned subsidiary of VGI Partners Pty Ltd, a Sydney-based private equity firm. VGI/PMQ and BML shareholder Simon George (S & D George Investments Pty Ltd) have made a range of allegations and criticisms regarding the BML Board, its senior management team and its ownership structure.

BML refutes and has responded to these matters in its formal response to the bid. In the meantime, BML, its directors and senior management are united and getting on with business during the bid process. It is business as usual at the Brisbane Markets. Read more on page 7.

HORTICULTURE CODE OF CONDUCT The fresh produce supply chain is waiting anxiously to see the outcome of a review into the mandatory Horticulture Code of Conduct. Review Panel members Alan Wein and Mark Napper presented their report to government in early November and from our discussions in Canberra, we are told it is being “considered”. With Parliament now in recess until the New Year, no comment is expected anytime soon. In what could be a further significant development for the future of the code, the Productivity Commission has launched another investigation into agricultural red tape with the late November announcement also suggesting the report would be due by August 2016. Read more on page 18. What is clear is that growers and wholesalers need a cost effective, competitive and workable outcome.

BIG 2016 AHEAD In this, the final edition of Fresh Source for 2015, we review the year that was. Investing back into our 77 hectare Rocklea site has been a priority for BML with ongoing upgrading, innovation and improvement of facilities creating a more competitive and professional environment for our tenants to work from. Take a look on pages 14 and 15 for an update on our extensive developments works. Pages 16 and 17 also spotlight the hard work and the successes of the year that was. If 2015 was any indication, we have an exciting year ahead of us once again.

MERRY CHRISTMAS On behalf of BML and Brismark, I wish everyone a safe and happy festive season, and after the expansive and challenging year that we have had, above all, a healthy and prosperous 2016.

Andrew Young, Chief Executive Officer, BML and Brismark

BRISBANE MARKETS LIMITED ABN 39 064 983 017 PO Box 80, Brisbane Markets, Rocklea, Queensland 4106 e: admin@brisbanemarkets.com.au w: www.brisbanemarkets.com.au ADVERTISING AND EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES The Editor, Brisbane Markets Limited p: 07 3915 4200 or 1800 631 002 e: admin@brisbanemarkets.com.au DESIGN Effigy p: 07 3040 4343 | PRINT Buckner Printing p: 07 3865 9677

Fresh Source is the magazine of Brisbane Markets Limited. New editions of the magazine are printed quarterly. Advertising and editorial inquiries are welcome and media outlets are invited to use material with or without acknowledgement. Fresh Source is printed on Australian made recycled stock.

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updates MELISSA BEAMS FROM THE TRADING FLOOR Channel Nine newsreader Melissa Downes will be beaming from the Brisbane Produce Market throughout the summer time after making a promotional piece from the trading floor. She is filmed walking through the Markets, with a hive of activity behind her, explaining that the news is found all over Queensland. The visit turned out to be a great catch up for the popular newsreader who ran into a number of people who she knows from her many years in Brisbane, as well as posing for photos with some new friends along the way.

Channel Nine newsreader Melissa Downes poses with GNL Produce’s Max Norris after shooting a promotional piece on the Brisbane Produce Market trading floor.

THE MARKETS AT CHRISTMAS TIME The Christmas fruits have appeared on the Brisbane Produce Market trading floor and Santa was on everyone’s thoughts at a celebratory barbecue for the 4,000 people who work or do business at the Rocklea site daily. The annual get-together was set amid the morning trade and gave the Markets community the chance to breakfast, wish each other well and tap their toes to a Christmas carol or two. Brisbane Markets will be closed for trading on: • Friday, 25 December: Christmas Day. It might not be Santa but that beard makes him look close enough. Central Park’s Jon Goody gives the thumbs up at a Brisbane Markets Christmas Barbecue.

• Monday, 28 December: Boxing Day holiday • Friday, 1 January: New Year’s Day holiday • Tuesday, 26 January: Australia Day holiday

HORTICULTURE’S NEW CHAMPION Horticulture has another champion in Federal Government with Senator Anne Ruston appointed the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resource.

The appointment in October has seen Senator Ruston take over the responsibility of the horticulture sector from Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce. The Liberal Senator for South Australia ran one of Australia’s biggest rosegrowing businesses for a decade before heading to Canberra in 2012. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resource, Senator Anne Ruston.

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CONTENTS 4

Fresh Updates 4 4 4 5 5

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Fresh Markets 6 Feature: Annual Report 6 AGM confirms ownership strength 6 Chairman delivers his report 7 About Brisbane Markets Limited 7 Brisbane Markets at a glance 7 2014/15 Financial Year highlights 7 New look Annual Report 8 Hostile bid for BML 8 Target’s statement details the truth 9 BML independent directors issue joint statement 9 Self interested bid for control 10 Vale Simon George Snr 10 New state Ag Minister 10 Playing it safe onsite 12 Wholesale Markets sponsor national hort convention 12 What is CMAA? 12 What is FMA? 12 What is AUSVEG?

A GENEROSITY THAT HAS RAISED THOUSANDS For those who love their juice, George Trattos is the big, welcoming smile behind Oasis Juice Bar in Brisbane City’s Queen Street Mall but he’s also kept hundreds of people less fortunate than him smiling too. The regular Brisbane Produce Market buyer has been collecting donations for the Brisbane Markets Mango Auction since 2008, personally raising more than $53,300. A generosity to be missed: George Trattos has raised more than $53,300 for the Brisbane Markets Mango Auction.

Life Education, Diabetes Queensland and previous charity recipient Redkite extend their thanks to George Trattos who has officially hung up his fundraising hat as he enters into semi-retirement.

Melissa beams from the trading floor Horticulture’s new champion The Markets at Christmas time A Preferment for mangoes A generosity that has raised thousands

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Fresh Development 14 Building G2 back to bare bones 14 Powerline removal preparation 15 Big three years of development 15 Development ahead 15 Shining a brighter light

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Feature: Year in Review 16 Reflections of a progressive year

Feature: Horticulture Code of Conduct Review Fresh Retailing

A PREFERMENT FOR MANGOES Queensland mangoes and the Melbourne Cup rarely have much of a connection, except when Brisbane Market wholesaler Peter Tighe, Principal of JH Leavy & Co is involved. Mr Leavy’s horse, Preferment, was a favourite to win the race that stops a nation, prompting the generous wholesaler to work with Brisbane Produce Market and the Your Local Fruit Shop campaign in October to donate 1,000 trays of mangoes if his horse crossed the line first. Fans of the yummy Brak Pak branded mango trays held their breath in anticipation but the offer was off when Prince of Penzance galloped across the line and into history.

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20 Mango trees sprout cash 20 Taste of Summer with Aussie grown stonefruit 20 About Your Local Fruit Shop 21 Win $500 with cherries 21 Choosing old fashioned service 21 Brady’s Fruit giving back to community

Fresh Industry 22 22 24 24 24 25 25 25 26

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Gem of the Coral Coast Assessing depth of “dodgy work practices” inquiry Skin blemish check becomes personal Grower reps cement relationship Characters on the trading floor Banana growers watch the weather ‘Pick Right, Feel Bright’ awarded Fruity Taiwanese group tour Facing down the challenges

Fresh Business 28 Managing absenteeism 29 Just one question 29 Market Kitchen a festive option

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Fresh Calendar


markets ANNUAL REPORT AGM CONFIRMS OWNERSHIP STRENGTH The benefits of industrybased ownership of the Brisbane Markets has been reiterated with the delivery of another strong operating result for Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) for the year ended 30 June 2015. Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November, reporting a net operating profit after tax of $8.41 million, a seven per cent increase on the previous year’s operating profit of $7.86 million.

BML directors (seated from left) Peter Tighe, Stuart Lummis and Deputy Chair Tony Kelly meet with shareholders at the November AGM.

As at 30 June 2015, BML’s total assets exceeded $243 million, the highest value since purchasing the site in 2002, reflecting the ongoing

investment in improving the Rocklea Brisbane Markets site. The AGM was held just three business days after Produce Markets Queensland, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sydney based private equity firm, VGI Partners Pty Ltd launched the hostile bid. The meeting was well attended and invited some lively debate among shareholders allowing Board members to further explain the structure and position of the industry-owned company. Copies of the 2015 BML Annual Report were widely distributed, with an online copy found at www.brisbanemarkets. com.au/publications/annualreports/20142015-annual-report/.

CHAIRMAN DELIVERS HIS REPORT Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) Chairman Tony Joseph has told shareholders the company has demonstrated consistent growth since the privatisation of the Brisbane Markets in 2002. Mr Joseph delivered his report at the recent BML Annual General Meeting where the company reported a record net operating profit after tax for the year ended 30 June 2015. 6

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“Through effective engagement with our key stakeholders and the focus on the operations, maintenance and development of the site, we have led the way to become a role model within our industry,” Mr Joseph said. “Our continued profits, teamed with strategic development over the years, have shown that industry-based ownership is the most effective way to manage the future.”

BML Chairman Tony Joseph


2014/15 FINANCIAL YEAR HIGHLIGHTS Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) has had another successful year financially recording: • Net operating profit of $8.41 million, representing operating profit growth exceeding 7% compared to the previous financial year. • Total assets were $244 million, a 4.3% growth. • There was a 65% improvement with a 5.2 years weighted average on lease expiry. • Shareholders received a 12.5 cent per share dividend payment fully franked, which was a 13.6% growth.

ABOUT BRISBANE MARKETS LIMITED Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) is the owner of the Brisbane Markets site, and is responsible for its ongoing management and development. BML strives to provide international-standard facilities and services for fruit, vegetable and flower wholesalers, retailers, provedores, secondary wholesalers, food processors, transporters, exporters, industry organisations and market support businesses. As Queensland’s only central fruit and vegetable market, the Brisbane Produce Market is the State’s most important centre for the marketing and distribution of fresh fruit and vegetables.

BRISBANE MARKETS AT A GLANCE

NEW LOOK ANNUAL REPORT Brisbane Markets Limited has produced a new look Annual Report featuring a dramatic photo of the Brisbane Produce Market at first light. The 2014/15 edition has trimmed the fat from former publications with the focus on the company’s record setting financial performance, and busy service and operational functions. It includes a major projects summary and an introduction to its directors and management. Take a look at http://www.brisbanemarkets.com. au/publications/annual-reports/ or email admin@brisbanemarkets.com.au for a hard copy. Fancy reading a shorter version? Then check out BML’s Facts and Figures brochure at www.brisbanemarkets.com.au/documents/2015/12/ facts-figures-brochure.pdf

More than 600,000 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables pass through the Brisbane Markets each year, valued at more than $1.3 billion.

2015

ANNUAL REP ORT

• 52 primary wholesalers, one nut seller, two egg suppliers and four flower wholesalers operate at the site, as well as an additional 100 support businesses. • More than 155 tenants on site and 235 leases in place. • Up to 4,000 people work or do business at the Brisbane Markets on a daily basis. • More than 7,000 growers supply produce for sale at the Brisbane Markets. • The site comprises 38 buildings, comprising 13 1,580 m2 net lettable area.

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HOSTILE BID FOR BML The Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) Board said a hostile takeover bid by Sydney-based private equity firm may be to the long-term detriment of horticulture industry. The BML Board has described bid by VGI Partner/ Produce Markets Queensland (VGI/PMQ) as a selfinterested attempt to control the Markets, a move that could be to the Queensland fruit and vegetable industry’s long-term detriment. BML released its Target’s Statement in mid-December, which details the Board’s analysis of the $3.50-pershare bid and its recommendations to shareholders. An Independent Expert’s Report prepared by BDO Corporate Finance (QLD) Ltd accompanies the Target’s Statement. BML Chairman Tony Joseph described VGI/PMQ’s hostile takeover bid as “one of the most significant issues faced by the industry in a generation”, and said it was critical that each Shareholder made an informed decision that considered their individual circumstances. “VGI/PMQ is entirely owned by a Sydney-based private equity firm with no genuine links to fresh food wholesaling and no apparent interest in the longterm viability of the Brisbane Produce Markets or the wholesalers, growers and retailers who rely on them for their livelihoods,” Mr Joseph said. “Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of misleading and incorrect information put out into the marketplace by VGI/PMQ,” he said. Mr Joseph told shareholders they should read the Target’s Statement and accompanying Independent Experts Report carefully and should remember that the primary objective in buying the Brisbane Markets from the State Government just over a decade ago was to ensure the industry had an appropriate level of control on its operation, management and development, so it could have say in our own destiny.

VGI Partners/Produce Markets Queensland’s hostile takeover bid is one of the most significant issues faced by the industry in a generation.

Tony Joseph, Chairman, Brisbane Markets Limited

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TARGET’S STATEMENT DETAILS THE TRUTH Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) has responded to an unsolicited, conditional and hostile takeover bid by VGI Partners/ Produce Markets Queensland (VGI/PMQ) by releasing its’ Target’s Statement. This is a detailed document issued to BML’s shareholders to give them guidance in relation to the takeover bid, and sets out the Board’s recommendations. Importantly, the document also responds to a range of the inaccurate and misleading claims which have been made by VGI/PMQ. This includes a detailed assessment of the claim that “every Brismark Member will get $950,264 from the sale of Brismark’s shares and distributing the proceeds equally among themselves”. This claim is incorrect at law and could in fact never happen. It also looks at the inaccurate comparisons used by VGI/PMQ to support its claim that BML’s employment costs are bloated. This claim is inaccurate and misleading. A focus is also given to the comments that there are governance issues within BML, a claim which has been rejected. The fact is that the current industry based ownership and management structures are entirely appropriate and justified. BML’s document does reinforce the prudent and responsible approach taken to managing and developing the facility. The document highlights that since acquisition of the site, BML has invested approximately $110 million in further site upgrading and development, while also expending over $22 million in site maintenance. Shareholders should read the Target’s Statement and accompanying Independent Experts Report carefully.

DID YOU

KNOW?

A copy of Brisbane Markets Limited’s (BML) Target’s Statement, together with the accompanying Independent Expert’s Report, can be viewed by downloading it at www.brisbanemarkets.com.au/corporate-information/ shareholders/ and clicking on the applicable links.


BML INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT In mid December, three Independent Directors on the Board of Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) were joined by two prominent former BML Independent Directors, former Premier Mike Ahern AO and Queensland Rugby League Chairman Peter Betros, to discuss with journalists the current hostile takeover bid by Sydney-based private equity Group VGI Partners/Produce Markets Queensland (VGI/PMQ). The result was a joint statement that summarises the issues discussed, particularly in relation to correcting misleading and erroneous comments made in the media and elsewhere about BML’s governance and performance. The joint statement has been signed by all five men, as well as former BML Independent Director Don Jackson, who was unable to attend the meeting.

Former and current BML independent directors meet to set the record straight: Standing, from left, Stuart Lummis, Bruce Hatcher. Seated, from left, Peter Betros, former Queensland Premier Mike Ahern AO and Tony Kelly.

There is opinion that BML is structured for the benefit of all shareholders and is well positioned to deliver ongoing value to shareholders. The document is a key response to specific criticisms and allegations from VGI/PMQ about BML’s corporate structure and alleged conflicts of interest. Read more at http://www.brisbanemarkets.com.au/ corporate-information/shareholders/

The conflict of interest claim is a fundamental failing of the VGI/ PMQ takeover bid – they are pure venture capitalists with no interest in the long-term running of an industry-based organisation, and no understanding of what is in the best interests of the industry. Joint statement, BML’s current and former Independent Directors

SELF INTERESTED BID FOR CONTROL VGI Partners/Produce Markets Queensland (VGI/PMQ) are self-interested and wanting control of BML. That’s according to the Joint Statement released in mid December by BML’s current and former independent directors.

The statement reads: VGI/PMQ are a private equity group with no apparent genuine link to fresh food wholesaling and, we expect, no interest in the long-term viability of the Brisbane Markets or the wholesalers, growers and retailers who trade there. Typically private equity funds have short-term investment time

horizons with an already identified exit strategy, and usually with little interest in the long term positioning or viability of the business they invested in. Handing control of the Brisbane Markets to VGI/PMQ may be detrimental to the future of the Brisbane Markets at Rocklea.

Make the connection DESIGN • WEB • PRINT

07 3040 4343 | EFFIGY.COM.AU PROUD DESIGNERS OF FRESH SOURCE MAGAZINE

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VALE SIMON GEORGE SNR Much respected Brisbane Markets identity Simon George Snr passed away in October prompting the Markets community to help fill Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral for a Requiem Mass to pay their last respects. Simon Snr had a long standing association with the Brisbane Markets, with 70 years in the industry. Simon Snr began his career when he joined his father and brothers in 1945 and commenced operating fruit shops in Queensland. He continued his provedoring business, buying at the new Rocklea location of the Brisbane Markets in

1964, eventually purchasing market wholesaler agent Alfred E. Chave Pty. Ltd. in 1974 in partnership with his son-in-law Tony Joseph. In 1976, Simon Snr established the business Simon George & Sons (SGS) in the Markets with his two sons, Simon and Damian. Simon Snr was passionate about the Markets, and will be sadly missed by the Markets community. His story is found in the 50 Years Brisbane Markets coffee table book and the Arch Martin History Room, located in the Fresh Centre building, of the Brisbane Markets, along with a range of donations, bequeathed by Simon Snr to help remember his involvement in Queensland’s Central Market system. Much respected Brisbane Markets identity Simon George Snr.

PLAYING IT SAFE ONSITE Brisbane Markets tenants marked Safe Work Month in October with an array of seminars and competitions to promote health and safety on site. Safe Work Month is held throughout Queensland and is an annual encouragement to build a positive culture of safety onsite and reduce the number of work health and safety incidents. Paul O’Toole stands near a barrier he has set up to reduce risk of injury on the O’Toole’s Produce selling floor.

NEW STATE AG MINISTER

O’Toole’s Produce Principal, Paul O’Toole and his team took the challenge to a personal level with a project to make their selling floor safer.

Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson has been named Queensland’s new Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.

Mr O’Toole said his team evaluated the health and safety risks in their workplace and determined that customers were exposed to hazards from their packing machinery and the forklifts movement in their tenancy.

The announcement was made following a cabinet reshuffle in early December.

They decided to tackle this issue by implementing a “traffic management plan” to keep people safe on their busy sales and packing floor.

Ms Donaldson, who replaces Bill Byrne, was elected to parliament in January and is the State’s first woman to take on the portfolio. 10

Events involved Market Officers observing and handing out rewards for safety behaviours on site, “safety themed” weeks where Market users were educated about various safety issues along with a series of workshops on traffic management.

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Work Health Safety Queensland and BML have praised the move.


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markets

WHOLESALE MARKETS SPONSOR NATIONAL HORT CONVENTION Brisbane Markets will have a big role to play in the 2016 National Horticulture Convention on the Gold Coast in June next year with both Brisbane Markets Limited and Brismark joining with its Market counterparts to sponsor the event.

WHAT IS CMAA?

The Central Markets Association of Australia (CMAA) is the peak body representing the authorities or owners of the five central wholesale markets around Australia. These include Brisbane Markets Limited, along with the authorities in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Newcastle.

AUSVEG has partnered with the Central Markets Association of Australia (CMAA) and Fresh Markets Australia (FMA) who receive joint naming rights at the event, to be held at the RACV Royal Pines Resort. The event, set for 23-25 June 2016, is expecting to attract 14,000 local and international delegates who will take part in conference sessions, field trips, export talks, trade show, social events and an awards ceremony. CMAA-FMA spokesperson Angelo Demasi said the event would inject millions of dollars into the Gold Coast economy. “Even greater economic benefits will result from two of the heaviest hitters in Australian horticulture joining forces to host the Convention,” said CMAA-FMA spokesperson Angelo Demasi.

WHAT IS FMA?

The Australian Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries Limited trading as Fresh Markets Australia (FMA) is the national organisation representing each of the six market chambers. Its membership includes Brismark and the other wholesale fruit and vegetable chambers in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Newcastle. In total, the organisation represents in excess of 430 Market wholesaling businesses. Find out more freshmarkets.com.au.

AUSVEG chair Geoff Moar (left) speaks with CMAA’s Angelo Demasi during the 2015 National Horticulture Convention, held on the Gold Coast in June.

DID YOU

KNOW?

Market wholesalers are involved in the sale of some 50-60% of the fresh produce sold across Australia in servicing the requirements of fruit and vegetable retailers, secondary wholesalers/provedores, foodservice industry businesses, processors, exporters and the public.

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Over 15,000 growers supply to businesses within the Central Market system. The total turnover of businesses in the Central Markets exceeds some $7 billion annually.

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WHAT IS AUSVEG?

AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing the interests of 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers and is committed to securing the industry’s future. In 2014/15, the Australian vegetable industry generated around $3.5 billion for the Australian economy at farm-gate level and played a critically important role in contributing to both regional and state economies. Find out more at www.ausveg.com.au.


The Border Track 11-13 March

SOCIAL

Great Ocean Road 8-14 September

ADVENTURE AHEAD 2016 If you want an excuse to get outdoors in 2016 then this is it. Enjoy a weekend being guided through Queensland’s Lamington National Park, or travel south to spend 7-days exploring Victoria’s Great Ocean Road by foot. The Border Track trek, 11-13 March 2016, or The Great Ocean Road walk, 8-14 September 2016. This is a great way to meet others and make a difference to the lives of children and adults living with diabetes. To find out more and to register, contact Diabetes Queensland Fundraising Team on 1300 136 588 or email fundraising@diabetesqld.org.au.


development BUILDING G2 BACK TO BARE BONES Watpac Specialty Services Pty Ltd (Watpac) has completed demolition works on the roof, interior brickwork and part of the slab of Building G2, taking the aged brick building back to its bare bones. The demolition is an important step in the $6 million refurbishment of the building as part of a wider project to modernise the Brisbane Markets’ Commercial Centre precinct. The completed building, near the Brisbane Markets Main Entry, will feature a modern glass design and contain a 24 hour gymnasium, organic food retailer and commercial offices. Work continues on the electrical in-ground conduits and trenching for sewer and storm water lines, along with concreting of a lift shaft. New roof sheeting is completed and will provide a dry building site during the summer storm season.

POWERLINE REMOVAL PREPARATION Work continues on the construction of the $3.4 million Service Station development on Sherwood Road, outside the Brisbane Markets, with Energex relocating overhead powerlines in preparation for the development. Brisbane Markets Limited has negotiated a lease with Neumann Petroleum Pty Ltd which trades as Puma Energy for the former service station site. The company has 270 retail sites in Australia and a cartage fleet delivering one billion litres of fuel every year. The project will complement the refurbishment of its neighbour, Building G2, further revitalizing the busy Sherwood Road, Rocklea Commercial Centre.

Works are on track to be completed in March 2016.

The Building G2 is back to its bare bones in readiness for refurbishment.

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The new Service Station site on Sherwood Road, cleared of buildings and powerlines, ready for construction.


DEVELOPMENT AHEAD BIG THREE YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT

The face of Brisbane Markets has changed dramatically since Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) took ownership in 2002 with major building and refurbishment projects completed and updated branding across the site.

The Brisbane Markets community has seen plenty of change since arriving on the Rocklea site 51 years ago, with most of the development in recent years.

However, the work has not stopped yet.

There is always work taking place on the 77 hectare site as Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) works to maintain and develop Queensland’s biggest fresh fruit and vegetable Central Market.

• new warehouses;

A review of the Brisbane Markets Master Plan is underway, with BML looking at some potential development possibilities including: • covered buyer unloading; • multi-level car park; and • additional refurbishment projects.

In recent years, these works have included: • $10.0 million refurbishment and upgrade of the Central Trading Area with the installation of 10,005m2 of roofing over the Brisbane Produce Market Trading Floor. • $2.0 million solar energy project, one of the largest privately owned rooftop mounted systems in Australia, comprising of 3,350, 315 watt panels. • $3.9 refurbishment of the Commercial Centre precinct. • $12.5 million refurbishment of the Fresh Centre. • $11.2 million construction of a pre-pack and export facility. • $3.0 million project to raise main electrical substation boards above 2011 flood level.

SHINING A BRIGHTER LIGHT Things have just got a bit brighter on the Brisbane Markets site with the replacement of fluorescent tube security lights with LEDs under the awnings of the recently refurbished Brisbane Produce Market and Buildings L and R. The works are some of the last final touches on the $10 million Central Trading Area roofing project. The new-look is also providing a safer, well-lit, dynamic setting which directly supports the trading practices of wholesalers and buyers.

• $1.0 million project to upgrade emergency lighting. By 30 June 2015, the Brisbane Markets site had 37 buildings covering a lettable area of 131,580m2 with more than 80,000m2 temperature controlled. It was valued at $236.5 million, having shown consistent growth since its purchase in 2002 for $74 million.

Buyer Mick Kallos has seen change on the Brisbane Markets trading floor, including the move to Rocklea from Roma Street 51 years ago and more recent development upgrades.

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Year in Review REFLECTIONS OF A PROGRESSIVE YEAR

Brisbane Markets has marked another 12 months of trade with a facelift, record profits and a new retailer campaign that has consumers talking. This feature takes a look at the year that was and notes the milestones that have made the Brisbane Markets community so successful throughout 2015:

PERFORMANCE

INDUSTRY

• Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) achieved a net operating profit after tax of $8.41 million in the 2014/15 year, a 7% increase on the previous year’s operating profit.

• Re-signing of Memorandums of Understanding with Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers and Bowen Gumlu Growers Association.

• Total assets as at 30 June 2015 exceeded $243 million, the highest value since purchasing the site in 2002.

• Making submissions on and aiding in the redrafting of the Horticulture Code of Conduct legislation as it was reduced throughout the year. • Launch of the Your Local Fruit Shop campaign that assists independents to take on the supermarkets, with more than 100 South East Queensland fruit shops signed up.

DEVELOPMENT • Completion of the $10 million project to span the gap between the Covered Trading Area and Buildings B, C and D. • $2 million has been invested in a pilot solar panel project on Buildings R, L1 and J1. Power generating capacity is expected to equate to between 2% and 3% of the total power supply of this site. • BML is installing a series of new fire ring mains at the Brisbane Markets, with Phase 2 completed, which provides an independent high pressure water supply to fire hydrants on site.

• In excess of 300 jobs are completed a month, with BML having committed more than of $22 million in maintenance expenditure since private ownership in 2002. • Introduction of new IT systems including an improved access control system and operating systems. • Managed contract services including:

• Replacement and upgrade of all major pylon and building signs on site.

–– 240 hours a week to clean 250 toilets,

• Raising of 23 main substation boards as part of BML’s progressive flood mitigation strategy.

–– pest controllers who manage

• Construction of a new service station, with demolition of the old service station now complete.

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SITE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS

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–– 43 urinals, 177 sinks and 15 showers; –– 1,400 bait stations each month; and –– worked with waste management contractors to remove 570 cubic metres of general waste, 56 metres of cardboard and over 29 tonnes of sweeper waste per month.


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Channel 10s Josh Holt interviews Flowerlovers’ Danielle Milne in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. The Brisbane Flower Market recorded a strong performance on this and Mother’s Day with wide media coverage. 2 The Central Trading Area Roof Project was completed with three new roof structures spanning from the Covered Unloading Area roof to Buildings B, C and D. The new awnings provide an all-weather trading environment and included bird netting, smart LED lighting and a public address system. 3 The Umbilical Brothers headlined the entertainment at the 2015 Brisbane Produce Market Gala Dinner.

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4 BML has raised 23 main substation boards as part of BML’s progressive flood mitigation strategy. Site Infrastructure Manager Steve Cooke and Assistant Manager Site Maintenance Sasha Gorincu look over one of the Building C substation. 5 Market Officer Glenn Mitchell helps a visitor sign-in to the Brisbane Markets site. He, and the Site Service team, processed more than 400 forklift registrations and about 1,000 forklift operator permits throughout the year.

8 7 Gabba Fruit Market customer Jacqui McLaren became the final entrant in the inaugural “Cashed up Capsicum” event that, although not netting her the $1 million on offer, left her with a $5,000 travel voucher.

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Brisbane Markets sponsored and attended two of Australia’s biggest industry conferences; Fresh Connections 2015, held in Melbourne and the National Horticulture Convention, held on the Gold Coast.

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8 An artist’s image of Building G2 once it is completed. Preparation works for the refurbishment of the 50-year-old building got underway as well as the demolition and site works for a new service station. 9 Staging of the first Brisbane Markets Forklift Operator of the Year competition with 10 of the site’s best drivers rewarded for safety, winner David Macdonald receiving the inaugural trophy. 10 The Brisbane Markets community raised more than $51,000 at the 2015 Brisbane Markets Mango Auction for charities Life Education Queensland and Diabetes Queensland. A surprised Brooke Hodgkins (seated) of Smart Berries was crowned the Mango Queen.

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Horticulture Code of Conduct Review ADDITIONAL PROBE INTO AG REGULATION While the vegetable and fruit supply chain waits anxiously to see the outcome of a review into the mandatory Horticulture Code of Conduct it may have a much longer wait than first expected.

agriculture sector, with the inquiry to begin immediately.

The much maligned Horticulture Code of Conduct has fallen under the spotlight with a Review Panel receiving 43 industry submissions to either:

A joint statement from Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce and Treasurer Scott Morrison says it will define priority areas for removing or reducing regulatory burdens where doing so contributes to improved productivity for farm businesses as well as the wider economy.

1) Let the Horticulture Code lapse; 2) Renew the current Horticulture Code; 3) Renew the Horticulture Code with amendments. That Panel, led by grower Mark Napper and franchise code author Alan Wein, delivered its recommendations to the Federal Government for consideration by the November 2015 deadline and no more has been heard.

ANOTHER INQUIRY IS RELEASED Later the same month, the Federal Government released terms of reference for a Productivity Commission inquiry into regulation of the Australian

WEBSITE, FACT SHEETS AND MORE Fresh Markets Australia (FMA) has an informative website that carries the details of its member organisations and services across the nation. It is also the first port of call to read FMA’s submissions to the Horticulture Review team and browse a range of fact sheets that deal with the industry. Visit the site at http://freshmarkets.com.au/ or make contact at: Email: fma@freshmarkets.com.au Phone: 07 3915 4222 Fax:

07 3915 4221

Address: Level 2, Fresh Centre, Brisbane Markets, 385 Sherwood Road, Rocklea QLD 4106 or PO Box 70, Brisbane Markets, Queensland 4106

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The inquiry will focus on regulation with a material impact on domestic and international competitiveness of farm businesses and the productivity of Australian agriculture.

It will also take into account regulation in key supply chains. The Productivity Commission is due to report within nine months. Public consultation will be undertaken as part of the inquiry, with information available on the Productivity Commission website www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/agriculture

IF THE CODE “SUNSETS” The Horticulture Code of Conduct is due to expire or “sunset” on 1 April 2017. If the code is not remade by this time, it will cease to be operational. This would mean growers and traders would trade in horticulture produce in accordance with provisions contained in common law, general contract law and requirements under the Competition and Consumer Act, including proposed unfair contracts legislation if it is extended to business-to-business transactions. Requirements under the Horticulture Code would no longer apply.


AMENDED CODE TO STRIKE THE BALANCE Fresh Markets Australia (FMA) has prepared an amended version of the Horticulture Code of Conduct which it believes holds the answers to establishing a fairer and more balanced trading system in Australia.

“As part of our activity around the Code review, FMA has been meeting with federal and state politicians across Australia to table our amended Code and discuss the issues which we say must be addressed to ensure a more equitable structure for growers and traders,” Mr Young said.

As part of its detailed submission on the Code review, FMA provided a marked-up version of the Code which included some revisions, some deletions and some additions.

“We have now also contacted grower organisations around the country to offer briefings on our proposed Code to see if we can reach common ground on the desired outcomes,” he said.

FMA executive Director Andrew Young said the organisation wanted to demonstrate to growers, its own wholesaler/trader members and the review panel that it had conducted a thorough review of the Code and had a positive alternative.

Mr Young said that while the FMA may remain critical of the activities and statements of some grower organisations, it was committed to working with growers and their representatives to establish a cost effective, commercial and workable Code.

REFUSING PRODUCE IF NOT SIGNED UNDER THE CODE For the large number of growers who don’t like to operate under the current Horticulture Code of Conduct and don’t want to use Horticulture Produce Agreements (HPAs), their non-compliance attracts no penalty from the regulator and puts all the responsibility on the wholesaler. A grower can resist signing a HPA and thereby force a wholesaler to operate in breach of the Code. Fresh Markets Australia (FMA) said that despite the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) being aware of this conundrum, it has not taken action against any grower to enforce the Code. It says that the reality is that while a wholesaler may (in fact, should) refuse to accept produce from a grower without an executed HPA, they will, generally, continue to accept produce from their main grower suppliers. To do otherwise would be tantamount to business suicide. It says that for this (and other) reasons, the Code is commercially impractical and the massive wastage from its proper application would be unconscionable.

REJECTION IS AN OPTION Fresh Markets Australia (FMA) said that if the Horticulture Code of Conduct was followed to the letter, wholesalers across Australia would be forced to return or reject about 40,000 tonnes (2,000 semi-trailer loads) of fresh fruit and vegetables every week. Why? The produce is received from growers who refuse to sign Horticulture Produce Agreements or who choose to operate outside the strict requirements of the Code.

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retailing MANGO TREES SPROUT CASH Mango trees across South East Queensland’s Your Local Fruit Shop (YLFS) stores have been sprouting fruit and raising funds for Diabetes Queensland and Life Education Queensland. More than $9,200 has been raised from 36 stores for the charities through an Act of Kindness (AOK) Mango Retailer charity promotion at participating YLFS stores. Customers were asked to buy a $2 mango sticker to place on a “mango tree” banner with the store that raised the most amount of money being named the most giving in 2015. Former Mango King Carlo Lorenti, of Clayfield Markets Fresh, harvested the most from their heavily laden mango tree raising $3,600. The event was launched at the Brisbane Markets Mango Auction in early October and ran for a month bringing the total auction tally to more than $51,000.

TASTE OF SUMMER WITH AUSSIE GROWN STONEFRUIT Brisbane Produce Market’s summer campaign has put the spotlight on the season’s crown jewels, summer stonefruit. Peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, mangoes, cherries and lychees are on display across Your Local Fruit Shop stores heralding the start of summer and the festive season. Watch out for advertising on bus backs across the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Redlands/Bayside and the Sunshine Coast. The Your Local Fruit Shop jingle has also hit the airwaves in South East Queensland, with an intensive radio campaign scheduled across seven radio stations in December and January. In addition, YLFS customers can win a $500 VISA pre-paid card, just by buying Australian cherries. Find out where your nearest YLFS store is located at www.yourlocalfruitshop.com.au

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A heavily laden “mango tree” at Spuds and Plums helping raise money for charity.

ABOUT YOUR LOCAL FRUIT SHOP Your local fruit shop owners are hardworking, local family business people, who are passionate about fruit and vegetables, providing excellent customer service and are experts in their field. Most mornings your local fruit shop selects high quality fresh fruit and vegetables from the Brisbane Produce Market. The stores are located throughout South East Queensland including Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Boonah.


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Your Local Fruit Shop is working with the Australian Cherry Growers Association, Horticulture Innovation Australia and Brisbane Produce Market cherry wholesalers to promote cherries across South East Queensland. The promotion began in-store during November and has included a competition where customers can win one of three $500 pre-paid VISA cards, just by buying Australian cherries. The entry process is simple: When customers buy Australian cherries, they receive an entry form to complete. They fill out the form in-store and put it in an entry box at the counter. There are three $500 VISA cards up for grabs - just in time for Christmas. Runner up prizes include five $50 Your Local Fruit Shop vouchers.

BRADY’S FRUIT GIVING BACK TO COMMUNITY Sunshine Coast Retailer Program member Colin Pearce is a bit of an institution at the Brisbane Produce Market, with over 30 years’ experience in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry. Mr Pearce, of Brady’s Fruit, shares his produce knowledge with the community in the local newspaper the Sunshine Valley Gazette. He also writes a market report where he highlights what’s new in season, what’s decent buying and what’s the best way to eat it. Recently Mr Pearce was approached by the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to supply fruit for the walkers participating in the 11th Annual Walk for Daniel Day. The Brady’s Fruit team set up a marquee across the road from his shop, and with the largest turn out of walkers to date, they couldn’t keep up with fruit demand.

Brady’s Fruit Colin Pearce gives back to the Sunshine Coast community.

Brisbane Produce Market cherry wholesaler sponsors are: • Central Park Produce • Favco Qld Pty Ltd • Keith Lind Pty Ltd • Montague Fresh (Qld) Pty Ltd • Murray Bros • Ross & Co Fruit & Vegetables Pty Ltd

CHOOSING OLD FASHIONED SERVICE A November report of Channel Nine News said that new retail sales figures are strong. It reported that small independent retailers, especially those located inside shopping centres, are doing best right now – consumers are bypassing supermarkets and departments stores choosing old fashioned shop keepers with old fashioned service. Nationally, the latest retail sales figures are in and results are up – 0.4% for September and yearly 3.4%, which is much stronger than the overall economy.

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industry GEM OF THE CORAL COAST By Anna McCowan, Bowen Gumlu Growers Association (BGGA)

With an abundance of farming, beautiful beaches and a fantastic lifestyle, Bowen truly is a fantastic place to be, so it’s no surprise that early tourism ventures branded the town as the “Gem of the Coral Coast”.

celebrate the versatile horticulture industry and Festival Queens to raise funds for the local community.

In 1961, in celebration of the fishing hauls and abundant fruit and vegetable harvests, the town created the year’s feature event, “Gem of the Coral Coast Festival”.

We ensured nobody walked away empty handed, with all competitors receiving a highly valued Brisbane Produce Market cap.

Fast forward to 31 October 2015, and we still have the Festival Parade to highlight local initiatives and delights, Tomato Games to

The Tomato Games involved a BGGA hosted “Tomato Carting Relay”. Competitors went into the running for fuel vouchers, kindly donated by Puma Fuels and a cash prize, donated by BGGA.

Adding to the festivities, BGGA also sponsored Festival Queen Entrant, Zoe Brackley. Zoe is the daughter of a local grower and was a fantastic

representative for BGGA and the Bowen region. Zoe walked away with the festival trifecta – best decorated float in the parade, the Festival Queen and Charity Queen titles by raising a whopping $24,355! Many thanks go out to all those members and partners who donated time, effort, money and produce to run all of the fantastic Queen activities – during the busiest time of the season too. It has been a wonderful team effort, and the best part is that all the funds raised will go back into our very generous community. Congratulations Zoe!

ASSESSING DEPTH OF “DODGY WORK PRACTICES” INQUIRY By Peter Hockings, Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG)

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) is assessing how deep a State Government inquiry will go into dodgy work practices on Queensland farms. In early December, Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations Curtis Pitt said the inquiry would investigate the practices of labour hire companies, allegations of sham contracting arrangements and visa abuse and report back next year. 22

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BFVG Executive Officer Peter Hockings said he hoped the inquiry would focus on improving enforcement, rather than creating more regulation. “They might find some intelligence that will actually highlight the significance of the matter but what’s really needed is the action on ground to enforce the existing regulations,” Mr Hockings said. “A lot of this problem has arisen with lack of enforcement of existing regulations.

“It would be a hope that what would come from this inquiry is a realisation by the government and the various departments about where they’re falling short on enforcement. “Any further regulation that may be brought in is only going to impede the honest businesses that are further trying to be compliant,” Mr Hockings said. The inquiry is due to report its findings in the first half of 2016.


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industry bites SKIN BLEMISH CHECK BECOMES PERSONAL Brisbane Markets employees are used to checking for skin blemishes on their fresh produce but recently they had the opportunity to have their own skin checked by a professional. Brismark’s Markets Go Fresh & Healthy campaign teamed with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s work health and wellbeing initiative funds to provide professional skin cancer checks onsite, which more than 60 people took advantage of. Australian’s have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Each year, about 1,200 Australian die from what is an almost totally preventable disease. Market employees gave positive feedback about the 10 minute sessions saying they would never take the time to go and do it themselves but because the service was onsite and easy to access, it gave them peace of mind.

GROWER REPS CEMENT RELATIONSHIP Grower representatives from Bundaberg and Bowen spent time with Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) last month discussing industry issues and how best to support their grower members and the Brisbane Markets relationship. BML and the wholesaler service organisation Brismark have signed Memorandums of Understanding with Bowen Gumlu Growers Association (BGGA) and Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (BGGA).

Brismark’s Cassandra Thurlow undergoes a skin check from Dr Ignatius Soon through the Markets Go Fresh & Healthy campaign.

CHARACTERS ON THE TRADING FLOOR Two of Brisbane Markets “characters” chuckled over the mango trays when a Channel Nine film crew spotted them on the Brisbane Produce Trading floor recently. Freshmax’s Ross Caltabiano and Indooroopilly Fruit’s Joseph Guardala have joined the “faces of Queensland” promotion for the television station with their stacking and packing abilities on show in front of Building D being beamed across Queensland throughout summer. It’s not the first time in front of a TV camera for 21-year-old Mr Guardala. The third generation fruiterer has received quite a bit of media attention lately becoming a champion to interview for the Your Local Fruit Shop campaign.

The long standing relationships were further cemented with BGGA’s chairman Carl Walker and Industry Development Officer Anna McCowan meeting with CEO Andrew Young, and just days later, BFVG’s Peter Hockings also holding talks. Growers from both regions have been sending fresh produce to a Brisbane Central Market for almost 150 years.

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Freshmax’s Ross Caltabiano and Indooroopilly Fruit’s Joseph Guardala are filmed for a Channel Nine campaign.


BANANA GROWERS WATCH THE WEATHER Banana growers in North Queensland, where 95% of Australia’s bananas are produced, are keeping an eye on weather forecasts throughout the summer and into April with cyclones their biggest threat. “Generally, the advice is that a strong El Nino weather pattern will reduce the impacts from tropical cyclones,” says Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) Chairman Doug Phillips. Mr Phillips said Australia’s banana production for the 2015 financial year was 1,000 tonnes above the strong production recorded last financial year, with 371,000 tonnes recorded. He said the supply of bananas has not been affected by the discovery of Panama Tropical Race 4 on a Tully farm, with the conclusion of the emergency phase of the outbreak in September and the start of a new response phase.

DID YOU

KNOW?

Brismark Directors since 2002: Anthony Gribben Craig Chard Craig Spencer David Keates Derek Barea

‘PICK RIGHT, FEEL BRIGHT’ AWARDED The ‘Pick Right, Feel Bright!’ healthy eating campaign has won the 2015 Parents’ Choice award for its promotion during National Nutrition Week, held 11-17 October 2015. ‘Pick Right, Feel Bright!’ is an ongoing campaign, backed by the Australian and New Zealand fresh produce industry, designed to encourage consumers to eat more bright, healthy and delicious fruit and veggies every day. Nutrition Australia adopted ‘Pick Right, Feel Bright!’ as the theme for National Nutrition Week 2015. During the week, consumers were asked to sign up to see if they could eat more vegetables with the support of regular recipes, tips and fresh ideas to inspire participants.

FRUITY TAIWANESE GROUP TOUR Representatives from Taiwan’s Institute of Economic Research visited Brisbane Produce Market on a whirlwind Queensland tour, taking time out to speak with Australian Horticulture Export Association (AHA) and Trade Investment Queensland (TIQ) onsite. The group were most interested in business opportunities for tropical and sub-tropical fruits such as guava, lychee, jujube, dragon fruit, pineapples, mangoes, nashi pears, bananas and star fruits. The November tour included looking through temperature controlled rooms and speaking directly with exporters.

Drew Armstrong Gary Lavender Gary Lower Hamish Montague John Potter John Sayle Mark Clarke Mark Moore Mark Murphy Noel Greenhalgh Peter Tighe Stephen Edwards Tony Joseph Viny Byrne A Taiwanese Institute of Economic Research visitor learns about Aussie mangoes.

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industry

FACING DOWN THE CHALLENGES By Brismark General Manager Gail Woods

As we close in on the end of 2015, now comes the time for reflection of the past year and the achievements and challenges we have faced. No doubt the recent announcement of a hostile takeover by Sydneybased hedge fund VGI Partners, supported by one of our own wholesalers, is top of people’s minds. The Brisbane Markets and its community has faced down challenges in the past – be they economic or forces of nature – and I am confident we will overcome this hostile challenge too. We are a Queensland icon, and being a Queenslander means we face down any threat to protect what is ours. This recent hostile challenge is a good time to remind ourselves how we came to be industry-owned, and why remaining industry-owned is the best possible scenario for our market community and all the businesses that operate in it.

INDUSTRY OWNERSHIP Industry ownership provides us all protection from private companies who see value in a company, not for the progress it’s made throughout decades of challenging events or the service it provides to the industry, but simply for making a profit for stakeholders who have no other interest in the company or even understand the hard work that goes into being part of this industry. To put it simply, they just want to see their own bank balance grow, no matter what negative impact it has on the businesses, and 4,000 people employed here at the Markets. We have faced times like this before.

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THE 1990S The 1990s were a controversial time for the Queensland State Government owned Rocklea site with its tenants, the Brisbane Markets community, unhappy with the way it was being operated by the Brisbane Market Trust. In 1994, Brismark, and the majority of Brisbane Market Wholesalers established Landacq Limited to acquire a 46 hectare parcel of land at Yatala. This was done as an investment, but with the potential that the site could be developed as a new Market. This action was taken to address concerns within the wholesaling sector of the industry as to the future ownership of the Brisbane Market. There was frustration at the lack of attention that was being given to the development of the Market and the needs of its users.

NEW BOARD APPOINTED In 1996, the State Government changed the Brisbane Market Trust to become the Brisbane Market Authority and a new Board was appointed. A further significant development occurred in December 1999 with the passing of legislation by Queensland State Parliament to corporatise the administration of the Brisbane Market Authority. Its new name became the Brisbane Market Corporation. It was a Government Owned Company Corporation which operated on a commercial basis.

Intense lobbying by the wholesaling sector seeking to convince the State Government to sell the Rocklea site to them rather than stay under government ownership failed to achieve the desired outcome, and resulted in the deterioration of the relationship between the Government and the wholesaling sector.

SALE PROCESS By 2001, the State Government acknowledged it was not in the business of owning a Central Market, and in May 2001 it announced that it would be progressing with the sale of the Markets. The sale process was progressed in December 2001, and the site was put up for sale by way of an open public tender. Brismark managed its industry based bid using Landacq Limited as its bidding entity, and a negotiating team involving the Brismark Chairman, Tony Kelly, directors Tony Joseph and Peter Tighe and CEO Andrew Young. After a four stage bidding process, the site was ultimately sold to Landacq Limited for $73.85 million, effective from September 2002. The annual general meeting on 28 November 2002 unanimously approved a change in company name from Landacq Limited to Brisbane Markets Limited. Fast forward to the end of 2015 and we can all be proud of our Markets and proud of the community that made it happen. The purchase of the Markets by its own community in 2002 has given them control of their own destiny, and it is vital that this control continues.


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business MANAGING ABSENTEEISM By Sal Trujillo, Brisbane Markets Limited Human Resources Manager

Time flies when you’re having fun”, right? It feels like it was just a few months ago that I was writing on “Managing a safe Christmas party” (Fresh Source edition 49, Summer/2014) yet here we are about to enjoy the Christmas festivities with our family and friends once again. Given this time of the year, there is one topic that never loses momentum: Managing absenteeism. With absenteeism costing the Australian economy billions of dollars a year in lost productivity, the well-known “sickie” has real problems for employers. More and more the sickie is having a direct impact on staff morale, employee engagement and productivity. Making this issue more difficult to manage is the entitlement mentally as employees feel they can use their leave as they please.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES Provided an employee meets the applicable requirements under current industrial relations provisions including the relevant evidence and notice to the employer, the employee would be entitled to take paid leave due to personal illness or injury, family emergencies and caring responsibilities. 28

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However, employers do have the right to manage absenteeism despite the challenges that this might present. The key to success is the commitment to changing the entitlement culture which might exist within your workplace.

TIPS TO MANAGE ABSENTEEISM Here are some tips to consider: • Adopt a robust absenteeism policy outlining the company requirements including specific procedures for claim forms, when medical certificates are required, expected reasonable notice of absence (i.e. one hour before shift commences) and when disciplinary procedures will be implemented for persistent absenteeism. • Communicate your absenteeism policy to all staff members and train managers in the effective implementation of the policy. • Establish attendance standards and communicate these to employees on a regular basis. • Be alert for warning signals. Although most employees will have legitimate reasons for their absence, others might absent themselves from work due to lack of job satisfaction, poor work environment or conflict with others.

• Monitor reasons for absence to identify patterns and determine if absenteeism is a problem. Monitoring absence trends can assist in identifying if absenteeism coincides with major events or Monday sickies. Absence trends can also highlight absence levels per department or work group. • Carry out return to work interviews to allow you to gain further information on suspicious absences and to determine if the employee is able to return to their full duties. • Be supportive of legitimate personal problems by offering help which might include counselling, and/or additional skills training. • Be consistent when managing absenteeism. • Seek professional advice should you decide to discipline an employee or initiate dismissal for absenteeism to avoid any unfair dismissal and/or unlawful discrimination claims. By adopting a systematic approach and developing an understanding about the role organisations and managers have in managing absenteeism, positive improvements should be achieved. Happy Christmas holidays and a prosperous New Year to all our readers.


JUST ONE QUESTION By Andrew Malins – Affinity Accounting Plus

I was recently asked “if there was one question or one indicator that could tell you how your business is travelling, what would it be?” My answer of course was that there isn’t a single question or statistic that we can use to encapsulate the complexities of business performance even though we often use just a handful of daily data to keep our finger on the pulse of our business. If I had to nominate just one question as a “must ask” question about your business it would be more of a long term one: “What is my growth rate compared to the industry growth rate?” Or in other words: “Am I getting my share of growth?” If you’re not, watch out because it tells you a lot about whether your business has a long term future or not and whether it has really been successful in terms of the industry you operate in. Too often we get stuck in the pattern of believing industry talk, whether positive or otherwise, without having an objective measure of performance.

As I deal with many businesses operating in broadly the same sector, it’s interesting to see how the performance varies so markedly. Of course, sales growth is only one aspect and doesn’t say anything for profitability or efficiency of a business but it does indicate whether you are keeping up with the industry trend.

MARKET KITCHEN A FESTIVE OPTION Brisbane Market’s ‘Market Kitchen’ will be available for hire throughout the festive season and into the New Year for people looking for a state-of-the-art commercial facility.

There is a lot of talk at present about “digital disruption” with companies like Uber and Airbnb being the best known examples.

For more information visit

But disruption is not just coming from the digital world and has been impacting the food industry via change in the retail, import and export markets for quite some time now.

contact the Booking Coordinator on 07 3915 4200 or admin@brisbanemarkets.com.au.

www.brisbanemarkets.com.au/ market-kitchen/,

It is especially important to monitor comparative growth when there is change within an industry such as fresh produce. So once you’ve asked yourself if your growth is keeping up with the industry, there is of course many follow up questions to ask yourself, but for today just ask yourself that one!

Like everything in life, it’s easier to think up reasons “why not” rather than “how to”.

A chef oversees a festive function in the Markets Kitchen.

YOUR BUSINESS MATTERS Evolving Customer requirements Increased competition Finding the right staff Consolidation IT systems

These are just some of the issues that are currently affecting Small and Medium Business. Affinity Accounting Plus has extensive experience in the Markets Industry and can assist you to prepare and implement an effective Business Plan to watch your Business grow. Affinity Accounting Plus is located in the SouthGate East Commercial Centre in the Brisbane Markets at Rocklea. 07 3725 6100 | www.affinityplus.com.au PO BOX 399 BRISBANE MARKET QLD 4106

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calendar FEBRUARY JANUARY

1 JANUARY New Year’s public holiday

26 JANUARY Australia Day public holiday

3-5 FEBRUARY Fruit Logistica Berlin, Germany

Season’s greetings from all at the Brisbane Markets

Contact: Madlen Miserius on +49(0)30/3038-2048, email miserius@messe-berlin.de or visit www.fruitlogistica.de More than 2,700 exhibitors and 65,000 visitors attend from across the fresh produce value chain to take part in a tradeshow and meetings.

15-17 FEBRUARY Nursery & Garden Industry National Conference Adelaide Hilton, South Australia Contact: Kobie Keenan on 1800 252 468 (Toll Free) or email atconference@ngia.com.au. Hear about the opportunities for the nursery sector over the next four years with presentations, panel sessions, exhibition and gala dinner.

MARCH

16-18 MARCH Australian Melon Industry Conference and Field Days ‘Belah Heights’, Sturt Highway, Trentham Cliffs (Mildura), Victoria Contact: Dianne Fullelove, Industry Development Manager, on idp@melonsaustralia.org.au, mobile 0413 101 646 or visit www.melonsaustralia.org.au. Variety trials, machinery demonstrations, pest and disease information, two days of presentations and trade exhibition for the melon industry.

HOLIDAY SEASON TRADING HOURS Brisbane Produce Market will be closed to buyers and the public during the public holidays over the festive season and in January. For further information on fresh produce deliveries and purchases, please contact your wholesaler or check trading hours online at www.brisbanemarkets.com.au 30

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LOOKING FOR GROWING LEADERS Nominations are open for the vegetable industry’s national leadership program, Growing Leaders, which will return in 2016. The program focuses on giving participants the tools and understanding they need to have a positive impact on their own future, the future of their business and the future of the Australian vegetable industry as a whole. To sign up, contact Rural Training Initiatives at jill@ruraltraininginitiatives.com.au and request an application form before 22 January 2016 to apply. Please note that places are limited.


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