Franchising Code reviewer appointed

Franchising Code reviewer
The review findings are expected before the end of December 2023. (Source: Bigstock)

Dr Michael Schaper has been appointed as the independent reviewer of the Franchising Code by the Minister for Small Business, Housing, and Homelessness, the Hon Julie Collins MP.

Dr Schaper is a former deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and
former ACT Small Business Commissioner.

The upcoming review, announced earlier this year, has two goals. One is to evaluate previous reforms; the second is to bring under one umbrella smaller reviews such as the Franchise Disclosure Register and new car dealership protections.

Code review terms of reference

So what will Dr Schaper review?

Treasury has outlined the terms of reference:

  • The general fitness for purpose of the Franchising Code, due to sunset on 1 April 2025.
  • The role of the ACCC and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman in supporting enforcement and dispute resolution under the franchising regulatory framework.
  • The impact of the 2022 reforms which increased some penalties to the greater of $10 million or three times the benefit obtained; or 10 per cent of annual turnover.
  • Provisions in the Franchising Code related to the Franchise Disclosure Register.
  • The role of the Franchising Code in regulating the automotive sector,. This includes the possible extension of franchising protections beyond new car dealerships to other vehicle dealerships, and the effectiveness of 2020 and 2021 reforms.

Consultation and report

There will be a consultation process so all interested parties can make submissions.

Dr Schaper will report to the minister before the end of December 2023.

The Franchise Council of Australia has welcomed the appointment. FCA CEO Matthew Monaghan said “We look forward to working with our members to ensure their voice and what matters to franchise is heard in the review process.

“We are committed to ensuring that all challenges and concerns are addressed and considered as part of this independent review to champion the success of Australian business.”