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The much anticipated reforms to Australian franchise regulation look likely to be delayed until after the next election.
According to this article which quotes Small Business Minister, Craig Emerson, as saying:
(the Government) would respond within the next couple of months
the much needed reforms will be not announced anytime soon even though the expert panels' report, also delayed, has already been provided. Where is the report? Why must we wait for the minister to sit on it for a few months before we can read their conclusions?
Professor Frank Zumbo claims that the delay:
Effectively kills off any realistic chance of getting legislation through before this years election
The Franchising Inquiry which followed two State Inquiries, first reported to the Government in December 2008. Here we are in February 2010, having seen more franchise disasters unfold in the meantime and still nothing has been achieved.
Regardless of whether the proposed amendments and policies will have any real effect, having been watered down to the point that they resemble homeopathic remedies ( Some memory of the active ingredient remains but the result is still a placebo) the need to resolve matters is a pressing one.
If the Government and industry experts believe that the reforms will be useful then they should not be continuously delaying proceedings. Why should a minister need a few months to read what the supposed expert panel has taken many more months to write?
Or is it the case that delay is desired to allow the FCA to make generous contributions to an election campaign?
At a time when, according to franchisors, more people are becoming interested in a franchise, having lost their jobs during the financial crisis, we need remedies more than ever.
Add to this the desire of Government to increase the retirement age and keep people in the workplace for longer, for which franchising has been touted as a method, we need certainty and education, not for the issue to be lost among election platitudes or for the regulation limbo to be prolonged.
The longer this drags on the more people will miss out on having their agreements drawn up to reflect any final changes and the more they will miss out on any positive outcomes of the proposed changes.
"Justice delayed is democracy denied" Robert F Kennedy