Big boots to fill

Let me get this straight: I’m not a horticulturist or a landscaper, so it feels like a baptism of fire stepping into the boots of Matt Lunn, former Executive Officer of Landscape Industries Association of WA, who has moved on to greener pastures, quite literally!

My career, built over many years, has included working in many different industries – government, advertising, education, sport, corporate, media and property – and in recent times I’ve devoted my energy to the not-for-profit space, specialising in organisational management, governance and member services.

I recently met a group of landscape industry people and asked them why they were members of an industry association. The responses were many and varied, just as the industry is to both the environment and the people who live and work in it.

On a day-to-day basis, people generally don’t actually think about landscaping and yet we spend every day enjoying the lush, sometimes rambling, other times manicured, foliage.

How we engage with the elements of nature and how we shape our environment continues to define our existence.

Practitioners of landscaping, gardening, horticulture and those industries that shape and model our environs are immersed to a certain extent in how to work with elements of the natural environment. They have an innate ability to transform the ugly into beauty and the barren into fertile.

How we spend our leisure time in the great outdoors, or at times in the indoors (courtesy of the pandemic), provides a unique opportunity for those working in the landscaping industry.

Even with everything going on in the world right now, the landscaping industry is still experiencing growth. According to IBIS World, ‘The market size of the landscaping services industry in Australia is set to grow, and that growth might come from an unexpected quarter.’

Interest from younger generations

As more millennials begin to buy houses, the generation will likely begin to take up more lawn-care activities and landscape maintenance. Health consciousness is on the rise among millennials. A study indicated about two-thirds of adults are currently growing edible plants or planning to grow them. Habitats at home will be a retreat, a sanctuary from the day-to-day grind.

Commercially, big infrastructure programs are on the drawing board across the country and as the sector grows, so too does the importance of getting the industry’s house in order.

The Landscape Industries Association of WA (LIAWA) will play an important role in providing a collective voice for businesses. Association members regularly share information, discuss issues, develop standards and establish rules for best practice within their industry. My role will be to advocate on their behalf.

Hot issues for the sector include labour and workforce, training and qualifications and developing higher levels of professional standards and ethics.

We all know about the fly-by-nighters who put up a post offering their unique landscaping services. They quite often don’t know a native from an exotic and without having the Waterwise training LIAWA offers its members, cause no end of heartache and exorbitant costs to consumers and the industry alike.

 What’s happening in 2023

New, exciting events are planned for 2023 and with the support of its sponsors and stakeholders, the future looks bright for members of LIAWA. LIAWA welcomes new members and strongly encourages them to join now to get the latest industry news, product reviews, technical updates, become a certified Waterwise practitioner and build their business. Log on to for more information.

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