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Growers Unanimously Reject Voluntary Code Proposal (joint release by NFF/HAC)

15 September 2006

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and Horticulture Australia Council (HAC), on behalf of Australia’s horticultural producers, have rejected a voluntary Code of Conduct for horticulture, presented at a special meeting held by the Federal Minister for Industry, Resources and Tourism,
The Hon. Ian MacFarlane MP.

“Nothing in yesterday’s proposal has moved growers from our resolute position that only a mandatory code can deliver the certainty necessary to bring business practices in the horticulture sector into line with the rest of business in Australia,” NFF Vice-President Charles Burke said.

“Having reviewed the draft voluntary code the Minister handed to us yesterday, growers are united in maintaining that only a mandatory code can end the market failure and abuses prevalent in the market.

“We expect the Government to mandate a workable code, one which meets our expectations on our three key ingredients: Firstly, contractual clarity for growers. Secondly, the requirement for wholesalers to identify themselves as agents or merchants. Thirdly, a workable dispute resolution
process.”

HAC spokesman Mark Panitz agreed: “We have no intention of being diverted into working towards a voluntary code,” he said.

“Growers and the Government have worked together for two years on developing a proposal that will put an end to the clear market failure in the horticulture supply chain, and bring about the cultural change so desperately needed in the trade of fruit and vegetables.

“We maintain that the work towards a mandatory code has already been done over the past two years… there is no need to re-start this process.

“Horticultural producers expect that the necessary regulation/legislation for the promised mandatory Code will be agreed to by Government in the 2006 sitting year, with implementation in the New Year.”

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan, NFF Public Affairs, (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250 email:

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