Victorian Commercial Leasing Code extended till end of 2020

The Victorian Commercial Leasing Code of Conduct will be extended beyond its September expiry date until 31 December 2020.

This state-based legislation had been aligned with the National Commercial Leasing Code of Conduct and the initial expiry date of JobKeeper. 

The Franchise Council of Australia has welcomed the move, with CEO Mary Aldred describing the extension as a “life raft” for thousands of Victorian small businesses.

“With a major drop in turnover, small businesses still have to contend with fixed costs like rent. Extending the protections in the Victorian leasing code will help small businesses negotiate in good faith, and apply for a reduction in rent commensurate with their drop in turnover,” Aldred said.

“While the December extension is welcome relief, the FCA will continue to urge the Victorian Government to extend the provisions further, so that they aligned with the new JobKeeper date of March 2021,” she added. 

The FCA participated in the Victorian Commercial Tenancies Relief Panel. This brought together landlords and small business representatives to work on improving commercial leasing arrangements. 

“For small businesses and franchisees, commercial leasing terms remain the number one issue for a majority of our members. Banks and energy companies have been forthright in their message to business customers ensuring hardship to engage their support, and we need a similar level of proactivity from commercial landlords to support small businesses as well,” Aldred said. 

Victoria stands out for online sales

In contrast to the bricks and mortar challenges, ecommerce in Victoria in particular has been strong, Inside Retail reported.

Victoria’s online sales rose significantly more than in other states – even pre-Stage 4 lockdown. The state’s online sales in July nearly doubled year on year.

According to NAB’s Online Retail Sales Index  ecommerce rose by 62.6 per cent in July compared to the same month last year.

“The strong result for Victoria was, like the national result, driven by games and toys, and fashion. Unlike the national result, larger sales category, department stores, was in third place for growth, with takeaway food fourth,” said Alan Oster, NAB’s chief economist.

“Victoria also recorded strong growth in homewares and appliances, with SA and NT the only others to record growth for this category.”