WA franchising bill back in Parliament after being re-introduced by Labor MP

The debate of state-based franchising legislation is set to continue with WA labor member Ljiljanna Ravlich introducing a new bill to the upper house, just months after an original proposal was rejected by the Parliament. The move comes as South Australia recently passed its small business commissioner legislation, which many in the industry believe to be a back-door into regulating the sector.

SmartCompany
November 25, 2011

WA franchising bill back in Parliament after being re-introduced by Labor MP
Patrick Stafford

The debate of state-based franchising legislation is set to continue with WA labor member Ljiljanna Ravlich introducing a new bill to the upper house, just months after an original proposal was rejected by the Parliament.

The move comes as South Australia recently passed its small business commissioner legislation, which many in the industry believe to be a back-door into regulating the sector.

Liberal member and franchise legislation advocate Peter Abetz told SmartCompany this morning that after a quick read, the bill appears to be identical to his private member's bill that was introduced earlier this year.

"There is one extra part that requires the small business commissioner to give annual reports on the state of the franchising sector. That is the only part that I could see that was different," he said.

"I haven't had too close of a read yet, but it appears to be identical. I'll need a chance to go through it all very carefully."

The original bill called for penalties for breaches to the Franchising Code of Conduct, and also introduced a definition of "good faith" for contracts. However, it was shot down after an inquiry found misconduct in the sector was not as widespread as some believed.

Ravlich was contacted this morning by SmartCompany, but was not available prior to publication. The bill was introduced to the upper house yesterday.

Abetz says he is confident the bill could pass the upper house.

"Labor and Greens are supportive, so my guess is that it will go through the upper house and that it will put more pressure on the Government to consider what it will do in the lower house."

Abetz suggests the move to introduce the bill comes as "a way of keeping pressure on the Government".

"There is a very good chance of it passing to the upper house, but of course, it still has to go to the lower house and if the voting occurs in the same way, it could be a tied vote."

Earlier this year the vote was tied in the lower house, and broken by the speaker, Nationals MP Grant Woodhams.

But the bill is sure to be rejected by industry, with the Franchise Council vehemently opposed to any more state-based legislation. It rejected the South Australian laws and some businesses have already expressed hesitancy about operating within states that have their own laws.

http://www.smartcompany.com.au/politics/20111125-wa-franchising-bill-back-in-parliament-after-being-re-introduced-by-labor-mp.html


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