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Australia ADELAIDE: In a 31 March media release, South Australian Labor parliamentarian Mr Tony Piccolo has vowed to forge ahead with state based franchising law reform as a means of providing all franchise industry players with a fairer playing field.
A strong advocate for the reform of the Franchising Code of Conduct the re-elected MP said changes recently announced by the Federal Minister had done little to allay his concerns about the ‘power imbalance’ in the franchisor/franchisee relationship.
Mr Piccolo was one of only two MPs in South Australia to be returned with an increased margin. Mr Piccolo achieved the biggest swing to Labor in the state and his re-election was confirmed today when the result was declared for his seat of Light.
Over the past three years Mr Piccolo has waged a campaign to make franchising laws in Australia fairer, and his actions have been supported by a number of State and Federal inquiries.
Mr Piccolo said while the recent announcements were welcome they do not address the ‘underlying and fundamental weakness’ in the current code that places franchisees at the mercy of franchisors when things go off the rails.
‘One again the changes proposed by the Federal Minister do not go far enough,’ said Mr Piccolo.
‘The Minister has to stop tinkering around the edges and introduce real, meaningful reform.’
Mr Piccolo introduced a private members Bill [attached] on the last day of the previous parliament which sought to address the ‘power imbalance’ in the franchising relationship by mandating:
Mr Piccolo said while it was desirable and preferable to undertake reform at the federal level the lack of action to date has meant that State parliaments need to intervene.
Mr Piccolo said he would consult with industry players during April and that he would reintroduce his Bill as soon as practical.
‘I would welcome feedback from people in the industry.’
‘In particular I like to hear suggestions of how the Bill could be improved,’ said Mr Piccolo.
Mr Piccolo said he would commence his consultation process on the 13th of April with a visit to Melbourne.
‘People can provide written feedback or meet me when I visit their city.’
‘People keen to make a submission on my Bill should contact my office.’
‘While the objectives of the Bill are non-negotiable the strategies and methods used to achieve the outcomes certainly are,’ Mr Piccolo added.
‘I am more than happy to hear from the critics of the Bill as well, as long as they are prepared to play a constructive role.’
Mr Piccolo’s Bill has been heavily criticised by the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA).
In a recent message to members [attached], the FCA predicted that Mr Piccolo would in all likelihood be defeated at the election as he held the most marginal government seat.
The message goes on to say should he be re-elected ‘…we [the FCA] will certainly be rekindling our active campaign against Mr Piccolo’s Bill…’
Mr Piccolo said the FCA’s scare campaign against the Bill was as wrong as their prediction of his political demise.
‘I make no apology for standing up for the mum and dad franchisees while the FCA protects the interests of the big end of town,’ said Mr Piccolo said.
‘This reform process is not about protecting people from the bad business decision’s they make, but rather to create an environment where both franchisees and franchisors get a fair go,’ stressed Mr Piccolo.
Tony Piccolo MP, State Member for Light
148 Murray Street, Gawler, S.A., 5118.
Phone (08) 85 222 878 Fax: (08) 85 231 392
|Franchising (South Australia) Bill 2009 Introduced Version 3 12 09.pdf||33.57 KB|
|Franchise Law Reform - MP Vows to renew the fight- 31 March 10.pdf||80.25 KB|
|FCA Message to Members March 10 (1).pdf||676.66 KB|