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National Franchisee Coalition Pushes WA Bill

With the Committee to report back to the West Australian parliament on the state Franchising Bill 2010 the lead up to the 23 June deadline is expected to see intense lobbying from the Franchise Council of Australia and from Australian franchisees.

The National Franchisee Coalition has recently been established to align itself with Fair Go Legislation and to support additional efforts to back the WA Franchising Bill 2010.

The Coalition’s main objective is to promote compliance with the existing franchising code of conduct legislation, along with associated penalties for breaches of good faith conduct being proposed by state billsNETT.Better Business Advice

NFC representatives come from a broad range of industries franchising brands and have committed to sustaining fair franchising efforts in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales with franchisees from many more brands coming on board daily.

West Australia is the first legislative cab off the rank with reports indicating that the Parliamentary Committee has reviewed the Bill in the context of the Terms of Reference and are satisfied.  It should now pass to parliament where its introduction into Law may or may not be debated.

Former Federal Attorney-General Daryl Williams, QC, leading WA QC, Malcolm McCusker and Sydney-based SC, Alan Robertson, have all provided written opinions that have been lodged with the WA franchising inquiry in support of State-based legislation. FairGo

The Franchise Council of Australia is said to be desperately lobbying the Committee to do just that.

… a large number of the submissions made by franchisors on behalf of the FCA had not adequately addressed the committee’s terms of reference and had maintained the FCA’s strategy of making broad based and unsubstantiated claims.  Paul Plowman

It’s reported that the Franchise Council of Australia’s primary push is against the inclusion of a ‘good faith’ obligation on all parties to a franchise agreement. West Australia already has over 400 pieces of legislation that includes good faith. Australian federal legislation has over  600 Acts which include good faith. NFC raises the question; ‘why should anyone fear good faith?

Clearly moving forward now comes down to whether the WA Committee members will support protection of franchisee constituents and take the historical plight of the largest sector of franchising’s capital investors seriously rather than relying on the self-serving misinformation from Franchise Council of Australia, FCA supplier representative the Queensland Law Society, and the ever reliable FCA research beneficiaries at Griffith University.

While it is early days for NFC the determination and approach of its members suggests the drive toward franchising reform across Australia is just beginning.  Nevertheless, FCA continues to suggest that the level of disasters in franchising is insignificant while ignoring the existence of identical problems in franchising around the world.

In its review under the Terms of Reference the Committee did not take into account submissions and recommendations coming from any of the three franchising Inquiries undertaken since 2008 or reports from the 1997 Inquiry. The first parliamentary reference to abuses in Australian franchising dates back to 1976.

… the effectiveness of the constant use of the THREAT of perverse non-renewals and inventive terminations and why post-franchise confidentiality agreements stymie the evidence of the true depth of little folk disasters across franchising. What we see is the tip of a shameful iceberg.  BMM

The WA Committee is not aware of moves to create a fair and reasonable balance in franchising in the US or where Canada continues to review the Arthur Wishart Act already seeing a good faith obligation as a springboard to a healthier franchisee investor environment.

Deadline 23 June 2011: Those wishing to support franchisee protection are asked to email NFC, [email protected],and contact FairGoLegislation Here.

Related BMM Reading:

West Australia Franchise Hearings Close

Franchise Council Gets Desperate

FCA in West Aus

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