ACCC updates guidance material for Horticulture Code
The ACCC has updated its horticultural code guidance to help growers and traders understand their rights and meet their responsibilities under the code.
The code aims to protect horticulturists by requiring that all dealings with agents and traders (dealers) be done under a written agreement. The agreement must include certain things, such as how prices are calculated and when the producer is paid.
The update provides more details on key elements of the code, including requirements for traders to publish their trading terms and for traders to report the gross selling price when paying a producer an amount calculated by a method or formula.
“Our update to the guidelines aims to provide greater price transparency to producers on what traders are paying for their products,” said ACCC Vice President Mick Keogh.
“Recent ACCC compliance checks have revealed that some horticulture traders are not making their terms of trade publicly available and are reporting prices incorrectly in grower declarations, putting growers at a disadvantage.”
“We are committed to helping growers and traders fully understand their rights and responsibilities under the code,” Mr. Keogh said.
Following the release of this update, the ACCC will continue its education and engagement work and place an increased emphasis on enforcement.
“The ACCC will be conducting further compliance checks soon, and if we identify any non-compliance, we will seriously consider enforcement action,” Keogh said.
The Horticulture Code is a mandatory industry code prescribed under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA). The purpose of the code is to ensure transparency and clarity in transactions between producers and traders, and to provide a fair and equitable dispute resolution procedure. The code defines certain rights and responsibilities for producers and traders of horticultural products.
Ensuring compliance with mandatory industry codes of conduct in the agricultural sector is a core enforcement and compliance activity for the ACCC. The ACCC conducts regular audits to ensure compliance with the Horticultural Code and investigates suspected violations. The ACCC’s enforcement tools include administrative resolutions, court-enforceable recognizances under Section 87B of the CCA, infringement notices and the initiation of legal action for certain infringements.
The ACCC guidelines were last revised in 2017 with the introduction of the current version of the code.