Wholesalers welcome Government’s Code response

Fresh Markets Australia

MEDIA RELEASE

13 February 2017

Wholesalers welcome Government’s Code response

The fresh produce wholesaling sector’s representative organisation, Fresh Markets Australia (FMA), has welcomed the Federal Government’s long anticipated response to the review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct.

FMA Chairman, Shane Schnitzler, has congratulated the Government for its efforts in seeking to achieve a balanced, commercial outcome in its review, which removes the unnecessary and unworkable requirements of the existing Code.

FMA liaised closely with the Federal Government in finalising the Code review as it looks to having a new Code finalised and introduced by April 2017 when the current Code ceases to apply.

The Federal Government has responded to the 13 recommendations made by the Code Review Panel and in the main, FMA supports its position.

FMA Executive Director, Andrew Young, said there were concerns with just two areas, with the Government not supporting the inclusion of deeming provisions in the Code, while at the same time supporting the inclusion of monetary penalties.

“FMA believes that the inclusion of monetary penalties will be anticompetitive as these provisions will apply to just one sector of the Industry,” said Mr Young.

“It is noted that similar monetary penalties do not exist under the voluntary Food and Grocery Code which applies to the retail chains, while there is no regulation of other retailers buying direct from growers. There is therefore a significant risk that the Code will be anticompetitive.

“Accordingly, penalties must only be applied in extreme cases where there has been systematic, repeated and blatant breach of the Code,” he said.

The lack of deeming provisions which provide for deemed Code compliance when a Grower continues to supply product to a Wholesaler, when they have not returned a signed terms of trade document, can also mean that a Grower can unintentionally force a Wholesaler to breach the Code.

This situation will expose both the Grower and the Wholesaler to potential monetary penalties for breaching of the Code. FMA says this would be a harsh and unfair outcome which should not be allowed to occur.

Mr Young said that while it was good to see the Federal Government’s response, the devil would be in the detail and, as yet, FMA had not seen the draft new Code.

“While the actual detail of the new regulations is yet to be released, we certainly look forward to continuing to work with the Government and grower representative organisations to see a timely and seamless introduction of the new workable Code,” Mr Young said.

– ENDS –

Media Contact

Andrew Young, Executive Director

fma@freshmarkets.com.au / 0438 388 411

Fresh Markets Australia's Horticulture Code of Conduct Review Submissions September 2015

Horticulture Code of Conduct Review Recommendations
Responses for Horticulture Code of Conduct Review
Assessment of Horticulture Code of Conduct Review
Horticulture Code of Conduct Review Additional Matters

Wholesalers put their case

Wholesalers 10 key factors - Horticulture Code of Conduct Review
Australian economic impacts - Horticulture Code of Conduct Review
Dispute Resolution & Horticulture Code of Conduct Review
Small business impacts - Horticulture Code of Conduct Review

MEDIA RELEASES


Wholesalers welcome Government’s Code response

“Fresh Markets Australia (FMA), has welcomed the Federal Government’s long anticipated response to the review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct.”

Backpacker fiasco is harming horticulture supply chain

“FMA has called on the Federal Parliament to put an end to the political point scoring and agree on the tax rate for Australia’s overseas backpacker labour before more damage is done to the $9 billion horticulture industry.”

Clarification on ACCC’s horticulture report

“FMA says that while the release of the ACCC’s “Perspectives in horticulture and viticulture” shows some common ground, the wholesaling sector must once again clarify key areas regarding the report’s conclusions.”

Code compliance a two-way street

“The task of promoting compliance has been made very difficult because of the unworkable requirements of the Code,”

Andrew Young, Executive Director

Growcom scare campaign calculated to ‘drive wedge between growers and Market wholesalers’

Fresh Markets Australia is outraged that false claims being made by rural lobby group Growcom appear deliberately calculated to drive a wedge between producers and Market wholesalers.

Andrew Young, Executive Director

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About Fresh Markets Australia

The Australian Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries Limited trading as Fresh Markets Australia (FMA), is the national organisation representing each of the six Market Chambers, which themselves are organisations which represent the fruit and vegetable wholesalers located in each of Australia’s six central Markets (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Newcastle).

In total, the organisation represents in excess of 430 Market wholesaling businesses. Market wholesalers are involved in the sale of some 50-60% of the fresh produce sold across Australia in servicing the requirements of fruit and vegetable retailers, secondary wholesalers/provedores, foodservice industry businesses, processors, exporters and the public. Over 15,000 growers supply to businesses within the Central Market system. The total turnover of businesses in the Central Markets exceeds some $7 billion annually.

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Fresh Markets Australia is proud to work collaboratively with the five central produce markets.

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