Do you have something to say about franchising?

The parliamentary inquiry into the operation and effectiveness of the Franchising Code of Conduct is going ahead and you have an opportunity to submit comment.

The chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Service is Federal MP for Swan, Steve Irons.

Irons commented “I’ve had a long association with franchisees and franchisors and am certain the inquiry will have positive outcomes for all stakeholders.”

The committe has provided some submission guidance.

It welcomes individual stories that may identify widespread issues and recommendations for reform but it is not empowered to investigate or resolve individual disputes.

What should you put in your submission?

According to the Senate Committees The most useful submissions will:

  • begin with a short introduction about yourself or the organisation you represent
  • clearly address some or all of the terms of reference
  • are relevant and highlight personal perspective
  • consist of no more than four to five pages
  • emphasise the key points and back them up with related documents
  • outline the issues but also provide solutions to the problems
  • Only include information you would be happy to see published on the internet.

When uploading your submission, please specify whether it is to be a public submission published on the internet with your name on it (the secretariat will remove any contact details prior to publication); or kept confidential.

What are the terms of reference for the inquiry?

(a) the operation and effectiveness of the Franchising Code of Conduct, including the disclosure document and information statement, and the Oil Code of Conduct, in ensuring full disclosure to potential franchisees of all information necessary to make a fully-informed decision when assessing whether to enter a franchise agreement, including information on:

(i) likely financial performance of a franchise and worse-case scenarios,

(ii) the contractual rights and obligations of all parties, including termination rights and geographical exclusivity,

(iii) the leasing arrangements and any limitations of the franchisee’s ability to enforce tenants’ rights, and

(iv) the expected running costs, including cost of goods required to be purchased through prescribed suppliers;

(b) the effectiveness of dispute resolution under the Franchising Code of Conduct and the Oil Code of Conduct;

(c) the impact of the Australian consumer law unfair contract provisions on new, renewed and terminated franchise agreements entered into since 12 November 2016, including whether changes to standard franchise agreements have resulted;

(d) whether the provisions of other mandatory industry codes of conduct, such as the Oil Code, contain advantages or disadvantages relevant to franchising relationships in comparison with terms of the Franchising Code of Conduct;

(e) the adequacy and operation of termination provisions in the Franchising Code of Conduct and the Oil Code of Conduct;

(f) the imposition of restraints of trade on former franchisees following the termination of a franchise agreement;

(g) the enforcement of breaches of the Franchising Code of Conduct and the Oil Code of Conduct and other applicable laws, such as the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, and franchisors; and

(h) any related matter.

Find more details on how to make an online submission here.

The deadline for submissions is 4 May 2018.