Peak horticulture group Growcom today welcomed the Australian Government response to the independent review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct conducted in 2015.

Chief Advocate, Rachel Mackenzie said that the government response proposes a range of reforms to enhance transparency and accountability in transactions between growers and wholesaler whilst at the same time enabling more flexibility in individual transactions.

“Growcom was heavily involved in consultations and discussions relating to the new Horticulture Code of Conduct.” Ms Mackenzie said.

“Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Anne Ruston should be commended for her efforts in working with a range of stakeholders to develop a more workable Code.

“Growcom was very pleased that government has supported recommendations made by the review to include civil penalties and infringement notices. This will give the ACCC some teeth when dealing with breaches of the Code.

“The government response recommending that all contracts, including those entered into before December 2006, be subject to the provisions of the Code will improve uptake across the whole sector.

“We have not yet seen the amended Code and obviously there are some significant details to be worked through, not the least of which is determining what activities will result in civil penalties, but overall the reforms seem sensible and balanced.

“The wholesale markets are an extremely important component of the horticulture supply chain and we hope that a reformed Code of Conduct will ensure growers and wholesalers operate effectively and transparently with each other but also have the flexibility to engage in mutually beneficial trading arrangements.”

For further comment: Rachel Mackenzie, Growcom Chief Advocate on 07 3620 3844 or Mark Neville, Communications Manager on 0423 065 734.