2015 Review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct

​​The Horticulture Code is a mandatory industry code under section 51AE of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) and is enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The code was established in 2007 and exists to provide clarity and transparency of transactions between growers and wholesalers of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The current code is due to sunset in April 2017. An independent review of the Code was conducted in 2015.
The government response to the review is now available and will inform the development of the new code. The new code will take effect from 1 April 2017.

Draft new Code - feedback sought

The existing Horticulture Code of Conduct sunsets on 31 March 2017 and a new Code will come into effect from 1 April 2017.

The new Code has been drafted based on feedback received from engagement undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources over the past six months.

Having your say

The department welcomes submissions about the draft Code. Feedback received will help the department to finalise the Code, which will be considered by the Australian Government.

It is now available for a final review and comment until 2:00pm AEDT Friday 3 March 2017.

Submissions can be made by email to hortcode@agriculture.gov.au


DocumentPagesFile typeFile size
Draft Horticulture Code of Conduct32PDF604 KB
Draft Horticulture Code of Conduct32Word444 KB

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Know your rights


‘Personal information’ means any information or opinion about an identified, or reasonably identifiable, individual.
The collection of personal information by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in relation to this submission is for the purposes of gathering information on the Draft Report for the Review of Biosecurity Import Requirements for Fresh Dragon Fruit from Vietnamand related purposes. If you do not provide this information, the department will be unable to contact you to discuss your submission.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, submissions marked confidential may be made available. Such requests will be determined in accordance with provisions under that Act.

Personal information may be published on the department’s website, disclosed to other Australian agencies, persons or organisations where necessary for these purposes, provided the disclosure is consistent with relevant laws, in particular the Privacy Act 1988. Your personal information will be used and stored in accordance with the Privacy Principles.

See the department’s Privacy Policy to learn more about accessing or correcting personal information or making a complaint. Alternatively, telephone the department on +61 2 6272 3933.


Subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988, content of submissions may be made public, unless you state you want all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential. A claim for confidentiality must be justified and provided as an attachment, marked ‘Confidential’. ‘Confidential’ material will not be made public. The department reserves the right not to publish submissions.
No breach of confidence will occur if the department shares your submission with a third party referred to under ‘Privacy’ in seeking advice in response to your submission.

Intellectual property

Responsibility for compliance with intellectual property rights in submissions rests with the author(s). In lodging a submission, you warrant you have not knowingly infringed any third-party IPR. By lodging a submission, you grant the Commonwealth a permanent, irrevocable, royalty-free, world-wide, non-exclusive licence to use, copy, reproduce, adapt, communicate and exploit all or any of the material contained in the submission.

Australian Government response to the 2015 independent review

Recommendations from the review have been carefully considered to identify those that effectively address the concerns raised by the public.

The government’s response to the review details a range of improvements to the Horticulture Code.

  • Changes will be made to better ensure that growers and traders have a fair, binding horticulture produce agreement in place and that restrictions are not placed on trade.
  • Stronger measures will be put in place to allow the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to better identify and rapidly respond to breaches, which will support compliance with the Code.
  • Removing unnecessary regulation where appropriate and allow growers and traders greater flexibility in the trading relationship.


DocumentPagesFile typeFile size
Australian Government response to the independent review21PDF388 KB
Australian Government response to the independent review21Word648 KB

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Independent review and recommendations

The independent review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct has now been completed. This review was undertaken by Mr Mark Napper and Mr Alan Wein.

The reviewers’ report was released by the government on 8 February 2016 and it is now publicly available.


DocumentPagesFile typeFile size
Independent review of the Horticulture Code81PDF1.16 MB
Independent review of the Horticulture Code81Word240 KB

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Issues paper

The review process began with the release of an issues paper, opening a dialogue on the issues relating to the Horticulture Code.


DocumentPagesFile typeFile size
Horticulture Code Issues Paper: Executive Summary2PDF374 KB
Horticulture Code Issues Paper: Executive Summary2Word56 KB
Issues Paper: Review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct79PDF1.5 MB
Issues Paper: Review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct79Word175 KB

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Terms of reference of the review

The reviewers were required to look into the efficacy of the Horticulture Code of Conduct (the code).
The review included, but was not limited to:

  1. The extent to which the code currently applies to arrangements between growers and traders
  2. The effectiveness of the code in meeting its purpose, including improving the clarity and transparency in current arrangements between growers and traders
  3. The knowledge of the code by growers and traders
  4. The extent to which hybrid trading arrangements occur in the industry
  5. The enforcement of the code and the function of the horticultural mediation adviser
  6. Options for the future of the code, including any further measures that would improve the operation of the code
  7. Any other related issues raised in the Competition Policy Review and the draft Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.

The reviewers released an issues paper in response to these terms of reference, and provided stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on the issues paper. Non-confidential submissions are published on this website. In gathering evidence to support the findings and recommendations for their final report, the reviewers undertook consultations, including with industry, traders, growers and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The reviewers

Mr Mark Napper has more than 30 years’ experience in Australian agribusiness, 22 of which have been in horticulture. A successful producer as well as a businessman, Mr Napper owns a fruit orchard in Bangalow NSW and currently grows peaches, nectarines and custard apples. With over a decade of experience in CEO and Managing Director roles, Mr Napper has extensive background in finance and corporate governance and is currently on the Board of Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited.

Mr Alan Wein is an experienced lawyer and runs a practice that specialises in franchising, trade practices and retail leasing disputes, particularly relating to small business. In January 2013, Mr Wein was appointed by the Australian Government to review the Franchising Code of Conduct. Mr Wein is an experienced accredited mediator for the Office of the Franchising Mediation Adviser and the Office of the Small Business Commissioner in Victoria, having been previously appointed the inaugural chair of the Victorian Government Small Business Advisory Council.


Stakeholders were invited to comment on the issues paper and submit their view on the Horticulture Code of Conduct more broadly. Submissions closed on 18 September 2015.

44 submissions were received as part of the review. Of these, five submissions were confidential.

The opinions expressed in these submissions are those of the authors. Attachments to submissions that are already publicly available are not necessarily listed on this page.

Download submissions

DocumentPagesFile typeFile size
Anonymous lime grower2PDF122 KB
Apple and Pear Australia Ltd5PDF169 KB
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission10PDF252 KB
Australian Food and Grocery Council8PDF326 KB
Australian Small Business Commission3PDF153 KB
Brisbane Markets Limited12PDF546 KB
Brisbane Produce Markets Retailer Advisory Committee2PDF352 KB
Brismark18PDF1.2 MB
Brismark Appendix 111PDF637 KB
Central Markets Association of Australia16PDF343 KB
Central Markets Association of Australia1PDF199 KB
Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd4PDF274 KB
Fresh Markets Australia – Assessment of the Horticulture Code36PDF1.3 MB
Fresh Markets Australia – Recommended Changes54PDF1.1 MB
Fresh Markets Australia – Response to the Issues Paper28PDF85.1 MB
Fresh Markets Australia – Additional Matters18PDF3.2 MB
Freshmark – The NSW Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries Inc16PDF581 KB
Fresh State Ltd3PDF134 KB
Fresh State Ltd – Cover letter1PDF269 KB
Fresh State Ltd – Attachment 15PDF108 KB
Fresh State Ltd – Attachment 29PDF364 KB
Growcom13PDF629 KB
Hopgood Ganim Lawyers7PDF404 KB
Horticulture Mediation Adviser2PDF375 KB
J. Garrett & Sons3PDF316 KB
Market Fresh South Australia2PDF335 KB
Market Fresh South Australia – Price Reporting Services1PDF111 KB
Michael Fawcett1PDF218 KB
Noel Hall4PDF184 KB
Ord Irrigation Cooperative Ltd1PDF232 KB
Scott Dixon of Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association2PDF112 KB
Scott Dixon of Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association – Attachment 121PDF57 KB
Scott Dixon of Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association – Attachment 23PDF112 KB
Scott Dixon of Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association – Attachment 32PDF150 KB
South Australian Chamber of Fruit and Vegetables2PDF346 KB
Sydney Produce Surveyors Pty Ltd2PDF166 KB
Tasmanian Farmers and Grazers Association2PDF323 KB
Toomey Pegg Lawyers6PDF197 KB
vegetablesWA9PDF249 KB
Victorian Farmers Federation4PDF321 KB
Victorian Small Business Commissioner4PDF132 KB
WA Citrus2PDF283 KB
WA Small Business Development Corporation5PDF81 KB
WA Small Business Development Corporation – cover letter1PDF78 KB
Wine Grape Growers Australia4PDF1.4 MB
Winemakers Federation of Australia8PDF460 KB
Your Local Greengrocer2PDF532 KB

Disclaimer: Submissions were not prepared by the department and may not meet Australian Government accessibility guidelines. If you require an accessible version of the publication, please contact the author.

Further information

For more information please view the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website.