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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3201


Mr ADAMS (Lyons) (10:10): On behalf of the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Resources, Fisheries and Forestry, I present the committee's report entitled Advisory report on the Constitutional Corporations (Farm Gate to Plate) Bill 2011 and the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Horticultural Code of Conduct) Bill 2011, together with the minutes of proceedings and evidence received by the committee.

Although the bills have some merit in looking to improve the ways that we market horticulture in Australia, they face some difficulties with regard to the cost of implementing them and also for the people involved in the industry from the producers and growers through to the people who market the horticulture of Australia. Some of the submissions that we received pointed these things out, like identifying a farm gate price. It can be very difficult to do that. How do you do that when it has passed through two or three different hands? Displaying a farm gate price in supermarkets could also be rather difficult for that reason and there were many issues from the submissions that indicated there were impracticalities in implementing some of the clauses of the bills presented to us.

The transparency and accountability asked for in some of the bills were quite good and they are always good to have in these areas of marketing. The more people can see how things are done, the better, in my opinion and that is also what the committee thought. There are complexities in the way costs come together in these areas. The status of existing agreements and contracts, which came about from the code, I think in 2006, are still in place. People using those, from producers to the marketers, are quite happy with them, so it is difficult to find ways through that. With regard to administration and oversight, some of the bills talked about setting up whole new sets of bureaucracies to administer processes and there is always a cost to that. In today's world, where government seeks to have those costs always met with by industry itself, that would not be an easy process.

The committee's conclusion about these concerns are all detailed in the report and the committee's recommendations to the House of Representatives are that the House should not pass these bills. I would like to thank the members of the committee for their work in relation to the inquiry, including the four supplementary members who joined the committee for the purpose of this inquiry. I would also like to thank the individuals and organisations for making submissions to our inquiry. We do appreciate the work done by those groups. Of course, I also thank my secretariat for the work they did. I commend the report to the House.

In accordance with standing order 39(f) the report was made a parliamentary paper.