Government franchising taskforce formed

By Nick Hall | 30 Apr 2019 View comments

The franchising sector is in for an overhaul after the federal government revealed it has formed a franchising taskforce.

Inside Franchise Business can confirm that as of Tuesday, an inter-agency body had been established. The taskforce will be made up of senior officers from the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Jobs and Small Business and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The announcement comes just days after the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Australian Labor Party had committed to a similar taskforce, pending the election results.

“The Morrison Government is committed to supporting effective and fair reforms to the franchising sector,” Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash said. “The Taskforce has been established and is operational.”

Reform background

In March, the parliamentary joint committee released its Fairness in Franchising report, outlining 71 recommendations for the sector.

The recommendations pertained to regulation, franchisee protection and the imbalance of power, citing the establishment of a franchising taskforce as a primary focus.

“The first recommendation of the comprehensive report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services into the operation of the Franchising Code of Conduct and the Oil Code Fairness in Franchising report was for the establishment of an inter-agency Franchising Taskforce to examine the feasibility and implementation of the Committee’s recommendations,” Minister Cash said.

While many had predicted the changes to take some time, the government’s commitment to a franchising taskforce shows a rare sign of solidarity between both sides of the political fence.

Franchising taskforce duties

According to the government, the taskforce will provide advice to both Minister Cash and federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

This advice will form the basis of the government’s response to the inquiry report and help to provide a plan for reform that the government believes will avoid “unnecessary regulatory burden”.

Peak representative body, the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) commended the government on the new franchising taskforce.

“The Franchise Council of Australia welcomed the announcement of a taskforce when it was recommended in March, and we are looking forward to contributing to it,” a statement from the FCA read.

“Given the parliamentary inquiry raised a substantial number of complex business and regulatory issues, making 71 recommendations in total, we also support the fact that the taskforce is expected to include participation from several agencies across government. That will help ensure all the recommendations are thoroughly considered prior to implementation.”

The government also revealed that agencies with regulatory power, such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would be co-opted as needed.

The franchising taskforce is set to meet for the first time next week.