HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Submission to the 2015 review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct – 28 September 2015

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 important area.  

Submission Overview

  • 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.

To receive a copy of the submission, please contact HopgoodGanim Lawyers here.  

For more information or discussion, please contact HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Competition & Trade Practices team.  

HopgoodGanim Lawyers is a legal firm of trusted experts. Founded 40 years ago, the HopgoodGanim of today remains fiercely independent and proud of our sustained growth and ongoing success. We deliver exceptional commercially-focused legal advice to clients throughout Australia and internationally and in addition to our corporate and commercial teams, we also house one of Australia’s most highly regarded family law practices.