The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is inviting people in the horticulture and viticulture industries to participate in a series of regional workshops it is hosting across Australia.
“The purpose of these workshops is to hear directly from growers and other horticulture and viticulture industry participants about the key competition and fair trading issues that affect them,” ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said.
The workshops will give attendees the opportunity to raise their concerns directly with ACCC Commissioners. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn about the role of the ACCC and how the Competition and Consumer Act (2010) and the Australian Consumer Law can benefit them.
“The ACCC has a host of functions that play a role in ensuring the benefits of Australia’s market economy reach regional Australia. Whether by allowing farmers to collectively bargain, taking action against unconscionable conduct by big businesses, or by policing Country of Origin and other labelling claims, the ACCC has a strong role in regional Australia,” Mr Keogh said.
In particular, ACCC Commissioners will provide information and take questions on the ACCC’s role in relation to collective bargaining and the upcoming business-to-business unfair contract terms laws. In addition, all workshops will feature a panel session involving a range of prominent industry representatives who will discuss some of the major challenges facing the industry today.
The workshops will be held at:
- Shepparton, Victoria, on Monday 6 June 2016
- Toowoomba, Queensland, on Friday 10 June 2016
- Bunbury, Western Australia, on Thursday 30 June 2016
- Griffith, New South Wales, on Monday 4 July 2016
- Murray Bridge, South Australia, on Monday 18 July 2016
- Devonport, Tasmania, on Thursday 1 September 2016.
“Horticulture and viticulture are critical Australian agriculture industries and we will use these workshops to learn about the various supply chains, and competition and fair-trading issues in these industries,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
All interested parties are welcome to attend the workshops, which will be chaired by Dr Schaper and Mr Keogh. Individuals wishing to attend the workshop are asked to please register using the ACCC’s consultation hub. The terms of reference for the workshops are available on the consultation hub and set out further details about the issues that will be discussed. Further details, including venues and a finalised agenda, will be provided to attendees prior to the events via the ACCC website.
For industry participants who are unable to attend a workshop or who wish to raise an issue privately, information or questions can be sent to the ACCC’s Agriculture Enforcement & Engagement Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘The ACCC understands that some interested parties may not want to raise issues in a public forum and we are happy to receive complaints or information on a confidential or anonymous basis,’ Mr Keogh said.
The ACCC has been provided with additional funding of $11.4 million over four years to establish an Agriculture Enforcement and Engagement Unit that will conduct investigations and engagement in rural and regional areas.
The ACCC has established an Agriculture Information Network. Subscribers to this information network will receive emails about developments concerning new or updated resources, enforcement action as well as upcoming events, surveys and other opportunities to engage with the ACCC.
The ACCC has also developed an agriculture specific webpage, which can be accessed at www.accc.gov.au/agriculture.
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