The Federal Government will move to change the dispute resolution process in horticulture, after a review found it was inefficient and ignored by both growers and traders.
In the official response to the review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct, the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Anne Ruston, said it would be replaced by a system that was independent, fast and flexible.
The government is in the process of rewriting the code as the current one will expire by the March 31.
Senator Ruston said everyone should be brought under the code, with no exemptions, and she would move to give the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) more powers to rapidly respond to breaches of the code.
The details are still subject to the rewriting, but Senator Ruston said growers would need to feel they had some comfort they could use a mediator on their behalf. The new code would give the ACCC power to fine companies in breach.
The government has either accepted or noted the review recommendations that:
- all parties be obliged to act in good faith;
- there be a formula to determine prices for produce, in advance - including pooling and averaging for produce of the same quality;
- compel all growers and traders to be brought under the code, with no exemptions;
- set up a new dispute resolution that is independent, fast and flexible.
(From ABC Rural - 13 February 2017)