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Wednesday, 13 September 2006
Page: 74

Mr KATTER (2:46 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources. Could the minister advise the House how his ministerial statement on the farm produce code of conduct—and I quote:

... under the code ... agreements will be defined in a contract—

which clearly envisages a contractual code—is consistent with a government promise of a ‘mandatory’ code? Could he advise how a farmer with a gross income of $200,000 could afford a court case to enforce a contract against, say, Woolworths or Coles with grosses of $38 million and $36,000 million respectively?

Government members interjecting—

Mr KATTER —No, it is not; it is a question.

The SPEAKER —Order! The member will come to his question.

Mr KATTER —Is the minister aware that Woolworths and Coles, according to their own growth claims, should now have a market share of 82 per cent? And, in light of this, could he further advise whether a grower taking legal action against giant chains would still be considered a person with whom a Woolworths or a Coles would be likely to do business? Finally, could the minister advise why the farm product mandatory code of conduct legislation has been taken off Agriculture Minister McGauran and given to the minister? Could the minister confirm media reports that Minister McGauran felt obliged to honour the election promise given by the government in the 2004 election and was therefore replaced by someone not inhibited by such a detail?

Mr IAN MACFARLANE (Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources) —I thank the member for Kennedy for his question. I can confirm that tomorrow the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and I will be at a meeting where the code of practice for horticulture will be discussed. Under the proposals that have been circulated to the participants, we envisage a discussion will take place about a legally enforceable contract, a contract which can therefore be, if broken, taken to a court of law. Also, the code of practice will entail a dispute resolution process and an ombudsman. As soon as I am able to give further final detail of where those discussions travel to, I will pass them to the member for Kennedy and the House.