FCA joins peak bodies to set out five-point plan for business survival, calls for National Cabinet support

The Franchise Council of Australia has joined the National Retail Association and the Australian Association of Convenience Stores in outlining a five-point plan to help business survival – and the peak bodies want the strategy adopted by National Cabinet.

Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) CEO Mary Aldred, National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Dominique Lamb, and Australian Convenience Stores Association (AACS) CEO Theo Foukkare have highlighted the urgent need for their Victoria and New South Wales members to get business assistance.

Last week the NRA highlighted the key points:

  • The reintroduction of JobKeeper to businesses in NSW and Victoria affected by the prolonged lockdowns.
  • Business support around leasing to manage increased small business debts.
  • A stimulus package to relieve drops in cashflow.

Posting on LinkedIn yesterday Mary Aldred revealed more about the proposals.

  • JobKeeper 3.0

“The first two JobKeeper programs met their objectives to support business and job survival, preserve employment relationships and provide much-needed income support. A targeted JobKeeper 3.0 program would ensure that assistance continues to be provided to the most impacted businesses and support economic recovery,” Aldred wrote.

  • Access to an emergency cash payment for debt-trapped small businesses in order to have funds available to pay immediate creditors, rent and remain solvent. ATO to defer lodgements and outstanding payments for debt-trapped businesses.

Aldred wrote “There is record collectible debt owed to the Australian Taxation Office of $21 billion, well over half of which is held by just 6.4 per cent of SMEs.

“With these small businesses struggling to meet their tax obligations, now is not the time for the ATO to trigger any action which could cause further pressure on these businesses and force their closure.”

– Banks provided welcome relief and support during 2020 to Australian businesses experiencing hardship. 

– National Leasing Code of Conduct (mark II), which would include:

  • The qualifying applicant would be the franchisee in the case of a franchise arrangement
  • A process for binding determination of situations where landlords and tenants have been unable to reach agreement.
  • Ability for tenant to terminate a lease in severe hardship / unviable lease on reasonable terms as outlined above.

Last week Aldred said many small businesses in the two states were at a crossroads.

“We need the respective state and federal governments to provide urgent assistance to keep people employed, manage mounting business debts and help with reduced cash flows.”

The need for more extensive assistance measures was echoed by AACS CEO Theo Foukkare.

“Even for businesses still able to trade under lockdown, there remains a large degree of uncertainty that affects consumer spending,” he said.

And NRA CEO Dominique Lamb warned the current lockdowns could jeopardise the all-important Christmas period.

“Christmas may occur in December, but for retailers the preparation begins as early as September. If businesses and jobs fall by the wayside during the current lockdowns it will have retail in a precarious position heading into the most important time of the year.

“The longer these lockdowns drag on, the greater the need for more comprehensive support packages than what has been announced,” she said.