Franchise reform fails

TENSIONS remain over the “failure of the Federal Government to properly reform the franchise industry,” according to Gympie MP David Gibson.

Mr Gibson has told state Parliament that it is time for Queensland to also take action “on this important sector of the economy.”

Mr Gibson said the Federal Government had only done “half the job” with its most recent reforms.

Dispute resolution had been overlooked and there remained “unresolved issues raised by franchising inquiries and clear public concerns about cowboy operators in the franchising industry meant action was needed at a State level.

“We have seen the Western Australian and South Australia State Governments announce franchising reforms and I believe it is time for Queensland to also act.” Mr Gibson said

“I have seen the impact upon my constituents of franchising disputes and the failure of the current system to protect the small business operator and something needs to be done.”

Mr Gibson said he would consult with industry stakeholders with a view to introducing a private members bill in 2011.

“I am seeking to restore a level playing field in dispute resolution as the current options are either a one size fits all mediation or adversarial litigation which is generally unaffordable.

“It is my view that we can utilise the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) as a State based tribunal for low-cost and rapid dispute resolution within franchising.

“Much is being said in the industry about the issue of good faith and penalties and whilst I recognise these are important I believe it is more important to ensure that disputing parties have an accessible forum in which their case can be heard.”

Mr Gibson also warned that over-regulation of the franchising sector could have adverse impacts.

Gympie Times

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