AUSVEG has welcomed future reforms to the Horticulture Code of Conduct which were announced in the Australian Government’s response to an independent review of the code conducted in 2015.
The government response proposes a range of reforms which are intended to increase the transparency and accountability in transactions between growers and wholesalers, including amendments that would require traders to generate and keep records on their transactions, along with records of all growers and buyers with whom they deal.
“This code of conduct has been in need of reform for many years to make it more relevant to growers, and it’s great to see the government taking the review’s key recommendations on board and committing to increasing transparency and accountability under the code,” said AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside.
“This reform process has brought all stakeholders to the table, and we appreciate the work of Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston in taking a hands-on role to ensure that the reformed code is stronger and more effective for Australian growers.”
The government’s response also includes the announcement the code will be amended to introduce civil penalty provisions for key aspects of the code, enhancing the enforcement tools available to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission by allowing it to impose fines for breaches of the code.
“The announcement of civil penalties means there are now greater recourses available for all parties who have suffered from behaviour which breaches the obligations laid out by the code,” said Mr Whiteside.
“AUSVEG congratulates the Australian Government for these proposed reforms which will strengthen the transparency of trading relationships under the code. We applaud the way in which the Australian Government handled the reform process by ensuring a wide variety of industry interests were considered and for their commitment to pursuing these important reforms.”