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Horticulture industry code of conduct a step closer.

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DAFF05/144WT - 25 May 2005

Horticulture industry code of conduct a step closer

The development of the promised mandatory code of conduct for Australia's wholesale horticulture sector has taken a major step forward with the selection of the Centre for International Economics (CIE) to develop the code, Agriculture Minister Warren Truss announced today.

The CIE is a private company operating out of Canberra and Sydney which undertakes economic analyses around the world.

Mr Truss said the CIE will prepare a Regulation Impact Statement which will examine the options for the mandatory code of conduct for the horticulture industry in Australia.

"This impact statement is an important step in the development of the code of conduct. The CIE will be working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Treasury, the Office of Small Business and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources.

Mr Truss said the code would be developed according to strict Australian Government guidelines, and is aimed at improving the transparency of trading transactions in the wholesale fresh fruit and vegetable sector.

"It will also include a practical and cost-effective dispute resolution mechanism."

Mr Truss said he expected that the CIE would be in a position to recommend a code to the Australian Government in September this year.

"Before a recommendation is made, there will be extensive consultations with the horticulture industry, including growers, wholesalers and other important stakeholders," he said.

Horticulture is Australia's third largest agricultural industry, contributing around $6.5 billion to the national economy each year and employing 95,000 people to help produce fruit, vegetables and nuts for domestic and export markets.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Kylie Butler - 02 6277 7520 or 0417 652 488