Dead­line for ACCC looms

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - PAT HANNAN Grow­com CEO

ALL grower and traders op­er­at­ing through the cen­tral mar­kets must have a valid Hor­ti­cul­ture Pro­duce Agree­ment in place by April 1 or risk be­ing pe­nalised by the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion.

Only grow­ers who sell di­rectly to re­tail­ers, ex­porters and pro­ces­sors are ex­empt and most pack houses will also need to have com­pli­ant HPAs with their sup­pli­ers.

Grow­com has worked ex­ten­sively over the past year to en­sure our mem­bers are in­formed of their rights and obli­ga­tions un­der the code.

To en­sure a smooth tran­si­tion, Grow­com has de­vel­oped HPA tem­plates for grow­ers who choose to pur­sue ei­ther an agency or mer­chantstyle agree­ment with their whole­saler or pack house, de­pend­ing on the pref­er­ence of both par­ties.

The tem­plates were de­vel­oped with sig­nif­i­cant in­put from so­lic­i­tors, grow­ers and grower or­gan­i­sa­tions around Aus­tralia and are avail­able to down­load from the Grow­com website. They can be filled in elec­tron­i­cally or printed out and filled in.

They are a use­ful start­ing point for ne­go­ti­a­tions around the hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duce agree­ment and pro­vide a clear and easy-to-un­der­stand out­line of the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of both par­ties.

Grow­com strongly rec­om­mends grow­ers have an open dis­cus­sion with their traders be­fore de­vel­op­ing a de­tailed agree­ment and to check the com­mer­cial terms sched­ule and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing terms and con­di­tions within that agree­ment to en­sure they are not sign­ing away their rights.

With the tran­si­tion pe­riod draw­ing to a close, the ACCC has cracked down on breaches of com­pli­ance and is­sued 15 com­pli­ance checks to hor­ti­cul­tural traders across whole­sale cen­tral mar­kets.

The ACCC re­ceived a steep in­crease in sub­mis­sions fol­low­ing the re­lease of an on­line tool for peo­ple to anony­mously re­port con­cerns about com­pe­ti­tion or fair trad­ing is­sues.

Two hun­dred and fifty-five re­ports have been lodged in the last six months, an in­crease of 25 per cent com­pared with the pre­vi­ous six-month pe­riod.

The easy-to-use tool al­lows farm­ers to re­port po­ten­tial breaches of laws to the ACCC while keep­ing their IP ad­dresses anony­mous to pro­tect their iden­ti­ties.

To ac­cess the tool, visit app.whis­­por­tan-agri­cul­tural-is­sueanony­mously.

To down­load Grow­com’s HPA tem­plates, visit www. grow­­ti­cul­ture­pro­duce-agree­ments-hpas.

The ACCC has cracked down on breaches of com­pli­ance.

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