2015 Review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Independent review and recommendations

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

The review comes at an important time, as the current code is scheduled to sunset in April 2017 unless it is re-made by the government. The review process has afforded interested persons with the opportunity to have their say on how the code could be improved, and the recommendations will help to inform the government about the future of the code.

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

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Next steps

The government will now consider the recommendations of the review ahead of making any decisions about the future of the Horticulture Code.

Background to the review

On 3 June 2015, Minister for Agriculture, the Hon B​arnaby Joyce and the then Minister for Small Business, the Hon Bruce Billson​, launched an independent review of the mandatory Horticulture Code of Conduct. The review was undertaken by Mr Mark Napper and Mr Alan Wein.

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 exists to provide clarity and transparency of transactions between growers and wholesalers of fresh fruit and vegetables. The code was established in 2007.

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 the above 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.

Timetable for the review

Issues Paper released and submissions open 3 August 2015
Stakeholder ConsultationsAugust - September
Submissions Closed18 September 2015
Completed review delivered to government 10 ​November 2015
Public release of independent review8 February 2016

The independent review of the Horticulture Code of Conduct was delivered to the Australian Government on 10 November 2015. The government has now made the independent review and its recommendations public. Further updates will be published to this webpage as they become available.​​

Issues paper

The issues paper initiated a dialogue around the issues relating to the Horticulture Code.


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, 5 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.

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 its author.

Further information on the Horticulture Code of Conduct

The following information was provided to support the implementation of the code in 2006.

If you experience any trouble accessing the documents above, or for further information about the code, please email your questions to Horticulture Code of Conduct.​