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The Horticulture Code of Conduct in Australia is a mandatory industry code prescribed under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. It regulates trade in horticulture produce between growers and traders (agents and merchants) to ensure dealings are fair and transparent.
Key elements of the Horticulture Code as of my last knowledge update in September 2021, include:
Written Agreements: The code mandates that all trade in horticulture produce between growers and traders must be conducted under written Horticulture Produce Agreements (HPAs).
Clarity and Transparency: The code provides clear rules regarding the terms of payment and the transparency of transactions. This includes clear terms for price determination and the timing of payments.
Dispute Resolution: The Horticulture Code of Conduct includes a dispute resolution process to manage disagreements between growers and traders. This process includes an initial phase of negotiation, followed by mediation and, if necessary, arbitration.
Record Keeping: The Code requires traders to provide growers with detailed information about how their produce has been handled, including price information and reasons for produce rejections.
A grower, trader, or anyone involved in the horticulture supply chain would use the Horticulture Code of Conduct for the following reasons:
Fair Trade: The Code ensures fair and transparent trade in horticulture produce by establishing clear rules for conduct and dealings between growers and traders.
Certainty: The Code requires all agreements to be in writing which provides certainty and clarity to all parties involved.
Dispute Resolution: The Code provides a clear pathway to resolve disputes, helping avoid costly and time-consuming legal battles.
Transparency: The Code improves transparency by requiring traders to provide growers with information about how their produce has been handled and sold.