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Govt's Hort code is a 'Claytons' code: Andren.

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Peter Andren MP - Independent Member for Calare

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2 November 2006

Govt’s Hort code is a ‘Claytons’ code - Andren

The government’s ‘Claytons’ horticulture code must include retailers and the major supermarkets or it will only cover 30% of the fresh produce market and leave growers exposed to the market power of the supermarket chains, according to Peter Andren, Member for Calare.

In question time today, Mr Andren asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry:

“Given the government has delivered only part of its promised mandatory horticulture code by exempting retailers, the major supermarket chains, food processors and exporters from compliance, how can the code possibly protect growers and will they or consumers be expected to bear the cost of this inadequate code, and what is the expected cost?”

“The Minster responded that the supermarkets have their own terms of trade with the wholesalers, and the code provides for similar terms between the wholesalers and the growers, so everyone is covered,” Mr Andren said.

“But what the Minister failed to recognise is that regardless of the supermarkets’ arrangements with the wholesale markets, they still have the buying power to influence the prices of fresh fruit and veges to their own advantage.

“Growers believed the mandatory code of conduct promised by the government at the 2004 election would tie in all players - growers, wholesalers and supermarkets into the same supply process to ensure the growers got a fair deal.

“And as for who will bear the cost of the code, Minister McGauran said it will be the suppliers who will pay for the administration of the code, which will be passed back to the growers or on to the consumers.

“The supermarkets’ advantage as huge buyers of produce is just further entrenched by this horticulture code as it currently stands, and it should not go ahead.

“For long enough growers have seen their produce on the supermarket shelves at up to ten times the price it leaves the farm and this ‘claytons’ code will do nothing to improve their situation,” Mr Andren said.

For further information: 02 6277 2341 or 0419 612 891/Tim Mahony - 0427 480 825.