ACCC warning: comply with Horticulture Code or face penalties
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has put Australian produce growers and sellers on notice, warning they need to be ready to comply with changes to the mandatory Horticulture Code of Conduct.
On 1 April 2017, the ACCC introduced changes to the Code which will now allow the ACCC to seek penalties of up to AUD $63, 000 for breaches of the Code.
The changes are set to come into effect 1 April 2018.
ACCC investigation to come
Addressing the 2017 New South Wales Farms Horticulture Forum, ACCC Commissioner, Mick Keogh, said farmers and traders need to familiarise themselves with the Code.
“Later this year the ACCC plans to use its investigative powers to check the industry’s level of compliance with the Horticulture Code. If Code breaches are detected, the ACCC may take enforcement action,” Keogh said.
“The Code is designed to offer new protections for growers and traders. We want the horticultural industry to understand that breaching the Code could mean facing an infringement notice or court action,” he said.
For smaller breaches, the ACCC can fine body corporates AUD$10, 500 and individuals AUD $2, 100.
The revised Code aims to address much of the the commercial uncertainty that has existed for many years in these markets, and which numerous inquiries and reports have identified,” Keogh said.
“While the ACCC will continue to educate the industry about the revised Code, businesses are now on notice that ensuring compliance with industry codes, including the Horticulture Code, is a priority for the ACCC,” he said.
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