Firm fined over HPA breach

Central and North Rural Weekly - - OPINION -

THE ACCC has re­vealed that a Syd­ney fruit and veg­etable whole­saler has be­come the first busi­ness to pay a $10,500 in­fringe­ment no­tice for an al­leged breach of the Hor­ti­cul­ture Code, which was up­dated in 2017 to in­clude penal­ties for non-com­pli­ance.

Stuart Dick­son Pro­duce Pty Ltd (Stuart Dick­son) was is­sued with the in­fringe­ment no­tice for al­legedly trad­ing with a grower in hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duce with­out hav­ing a writ­ten hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duce agree­ment (HPA) in place.

Stuart Dick­son’s al­leged non-com­pli­ance with the 2017 Hor­ti­cul­ture Code came to light fol­low­ing a com­pli­ance check the ACCC con­ducted with 15 fruit and veg­etable whole­salers which re­vealed Stuart Dick­son did not have a HPA in place with a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of grow­ers.

“A whole­saler trad­ing with grow­ers with­out writ­ten HPAs in­creases grow­ers’ com­mer­cial risks, as they do not have cer­tainty re­gard­ing crit­i­cal terms of trade, such as how their pro­duce will be graded, the price they will get paid and when they will get paid,” ACCC deputy chair­man Mick Keogh said.

Hor­ti­cul­ture whole­salers have been re­quired since 2006 to have writ­ten agree­ments with grow­ers.

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