In June 2015 the Federal Government announced an independent
review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct. In August, the review
panel released an Issues Paper and invited interested parties to
lodge submissions as part of the review process. HopgoodGanim
Lawyers is pleased to publish a high level overview of our
submission to the panel.
The clear theme of our submission was the need to simplify the
Code and make it easier for buyers and sellers of fresh produce to
do business with one another.
The submission reflects our experience with the Code and
advising our wide food and agribusiness client base in relation to
the Code since its introduction in 2007. We wish to thank all of
our clients whose experiences contributed to this submission and to
those of you who shared your views on this significant review of
Australia's horticulture industry – an industry crucial
to the health and vitality of the Australian economy.
The panel is due to complete its review and deliver its findings
to the Federal Government in November 2015. We will continue to
update all our agribusiness clients on developments in this
The significant advances in technology which have occurred
since the Code's introduction in 2007 have undoubtedly led to
more transparency and clarity around dealings between buyers and
sellers of fresh produce, and warrant the relaxation of some of the
more prescriptive elements of the Code.
Consistently with this increased transparency and clarity, the
Code should be changed in the following respects:
the Code should apply to all first point of sale transactions
across the fresh produce industry (except for parties who have
signed up to and agreed to be bound by the voluntary Food and
Grocery Code of Conduct);
the relaxation in appropriate cases (for example, where produce
needs ripening or the application of some other treatment process
before being offered for sale) of the requirement that buyers and
sellers must agree on prices either before or immediately upon
delivery of the produce;
to allow buyers and sellers to engage in pooling and price
averaging, with appropriate safeguards;
the introduction of a provision that a grower will be deemed to
have signed a horticulture produce agreement if the grower sends or
continue to send produce to the wholesaler after receiving a signed
agreement from the wholesaler.
Warranties can be risk-shifting mechanisms when the party giving the warranty is not the party at fault for the defect.
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