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Horticulture Code of Conduct

The Horticulture Code of Conduct (the Code) is a mandatory code that aims to improve the clarity and transparency of trading arrangements between growers and traders in the horticulture sector.

Our Assistance Team can provide you with information on the Code, options to resolve your dispute and access to mediation services. The Code states that parties must act in good faith. This means parties must act honestly, and not arbitrarily, with each other and cooperate to resolve the dispute.

The Code states that growers and traders may use any dispute resolution process they choose to resolve horticulture disputes, including the one set out in the Code.

If a grower or trader begins the procedure set out in the Code, both parties to the dispute must participate.

Resolving a dispute under the Horticulture Code of Conduct

Step One: Internal dispute resolution

The Code requires you to first try to resolve your dispute with the other party by sending them a notice of dispute (DOCX 20KB) outlining:

  • the nature of the dispute
  • what outcome you want
  • what action will settle the dispute.

If you can’t agree on an outcome within three weeks, either party may refer the matter to mediation, which involves an informal negotiation between the parties facilitated by an independent third party.

Step Two: Mediation

If the dispute is not resolved through the internal dispute resolution process, the parties may refer the matter to mediation.

This a cost-effective dispute resolution option for growers and traders under the Code. Appointed mediators help growers and traders to resolve their dispute without going to court.

Once mediation is requested, it becomes mandatory for both parties to attend and to genuinely try to resolve the dispute.

Appointment of a Horticulture Produce Assessor

A Horticulture Produce Assessor (the assessor) may be appointed by the parties at any stage of the dispute process.

The assessor may be appointed in two ways:

  1. if the parties to a Horticulture Produce Agreement agree to a person being appointed or
  2. if the parties cannot agree, either the mediation advisor or the mediator can appoint the assessor.

The assessor can investigate and report on a dispute:

a.    where a trader has rejected horticulture produce under the agreement and/or

b.    about the calculation of amounts paid by a trader to a grower.

The mediation advisor maintains a list of horticulture produce assessors which can be found here.

If you are interested in being on our list of produce assessors please email us at info@asbfeo.gov.au

If a party to a dispute does not comply with reasonable requests made to them by the assessor for the purpose of investigating the matter and/or preparing the assessors report, this may attract a civil penalty of 300 penalty units.

The Assessor will prepare a report and provide it to the parties to the agreement, and (if applicable) the mediator.

Contact:

If you need help to resolve your horticulture code dispute, please lodge an online form and a case manager will get back to you within 24 hours.

Phone: 1300 650 460

Email: info@asbfeo.gov.au