New Hort Code of Conduct
Background to the Horticulture Code of Conduct
The Horticulture Code of Conduct is a mandatory industry code under section 51AE of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and is enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The Code was first put in place in 2006 to ensure business between growers and traders was conducted fairly and to provide clarity and transparency of transactions.
The new Code is a result of a major independent review and months of negotiation with the Australian Government and industry, traders, growers and the ACCC after concerns were raised about the inefficiencies of the current code, with many growers and traders simply ignoring it. It aims to provide a stronger framework to support dispute resolution between growers and traders.
Key aspects of the new Code of Conduct
- From 1 April 2017 growers and traders will be required to have a fair, binding horticulture produce agreement in place.
- Growers and traders currently operating under a pre-code contract or a horticulture produce agreement have a 12 month transition period to update their contracts to meet the new requirements. From 1 April 2018, all agreements must comply with the new code.
- Unnecessary regulations have been removed and greater flexibility has been introduced for growers and traders, including in price determination and the ability to pool produce.
- The ACCC will be given greater powers to rapidly respond to breaches of the Code and it also includes an obligation to deal in good faith, which will support a more positive business relationship between growers and traders through soft mediation and avoid ending up in a legal environment.
Date Published: 31/03/2017