UQ research powers Indigenous flower business
UQ News Online - The University of Queensland UQ
Published: 22 March 2006
Scientific research at The University of Queensland is helping power an Indigenous-run flower and nursery business.
The Centre for Native Floriculture (CNF) at UQ's Gatton Campus is working with
the Dhugamin Community Development and Employment Program (CDEP), based at Hervey Bay, to build the nursery skills of Dhugamin CDEP staff.
Ian Gordon, the Program Leader of the CNF Capacity Building Program, said four
Dhugamin CDEP employees recently completed a three-day training program in plant
propagation at the Gatton Campus.
“The staff used this program on seed sowing, cutting propagation and grafting to
improve their proficiency in aspects of plant propagation,” Mr Gordon said.
“These new skills will help give the business a competitive edge in the domestic
and international marketing of floral products.”
The CNF, which specialises in improving the commercial potential of native flowers and foliage, is jointly funded by the Queensland State Government and UQ
as a Smart State initiative of Premier Peter Beattie. Mr Gordon, in collaboration with Dave Brown of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries
and Fisheries (QDPI&F) and other CNF experts, has developed strong links with
Indigenous community groups involved in the production of flowers in different
areas of Queensland.
Staff of the CNF and the DPI&F have assisted the Dhugamin CDEP to develop its
business selling flowers to florists in the Hervey Bay and Maryborough areas.
While proteas have been the main product, Dhugamin CDEP plans to extend its range in the near future - particularly with ‘filler' varieties that can be used
to produce mixed bunches and expand retail sales.
Dhugamin CDEP also operates a nursery unit and a bush tucker unit, and is proposing to branch out into the production of Indigenous trees for use in
environmental revegetation work. The intended market would include Landcare groups, farmers, local councils and mining companies.
“Regional flower growing enterprises developed by Indigenous groups provide
part-time and full-time employment opportunities for local communities,” Mr
“They are sustainable production enterprises and are a great social and economic
benefit to the communities,” he said.
Media inquiries: Susanne Schick - UQ Gatton Campus (07 5460 1229, 0409 265 587).
Further information/comment: Contact Ian Gordon (07 5460 1235 or