FCA applauds Queensland Government’s leasing code action

The Franchise Council of Australia has given the Queensland Government the thumbs-up for it’s implementation of the national commercial leasing code.

Australia’s state parliaments are currently employing the code, agreed to by the National Cabinet. 

And Queensland’s approach sets out the most balanced and fair playing field for small businesses and franchisees, the FCA said,

CEO Mary Aldred said the FCA had raised concerns with Small Business Minister Shannon Fentiman about franchisees being ineligible for rent reductions.

The fear was that where franchisors hold a head lease, franchisees may not be covered under the national leasing code principles if the franchisor was above the $50,000 threshold set by JobKeeper eligibility.

This meant many franchisees would be excluded from elements such as the proportionality principle which allows a drop in turnover caused by the pandemic to be met by commensurate rent reduction. 

“On behalf of thousands of small businesses, we thank Minister Fentiman and the Queensland Government for being willing to listen to feedback from small business, and respond by ensuring there is a fair and level playing field set for everyone. This will give mum and dad small businesses owners in Queensland every shot at making it through the current Covid -19 environment to the other side,” said Aldred. 

Franchising in Australia represents nearly 90,000 brands and employs around 534,000 jobs.

“It’s small business that’s going to be a key driver of Australia’s path to recovery, and commercial landlords unwilling to provide any concessions to small business tenants have been holding us back from playing that role,” Aldred said.

“While this legislation doesn’t fix every challenge currently faced, the Queensland Government have just made it easier for small businesses to get out and have their best shot at making it through this current crisis.”

The FCA is urging other state governments around Australia to look incorporate the Queensland provisions in their respective regulations. 

The Queensland regulations from the legislation are available at: https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/asmade/sl-2020-0079#