The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has hit out at the Federal Parliament’s announcement to have yet another inquiry into the Franchising Code of Conduct, demanding it be the last.

ARA executive director Richard Evans doesn’t understand the need of yet another inquiry only months after passing new legislation after the extensive Matthews Inquiry.

“How many inquiries will it take for uninformed politicians to realise Australia is a world leader when it comes to franchising regulation and practice? Since the introduction of the Franchising Code of Conduct we have been in constant review and perhaps it’s time the sector gained respect from legislators more attuned to a bad story as opposed to the many successes Australian franchising brings.
“With 52 per cent of all franchising systems sitting in the retail market – the franchising sector is an important player already suffering a crisis of confidence with rising interest rates and petrol prices. Australia’s $128 billion franchising sector is world’s best practice – with a Code of Conduct that is the envy of the franchising world. The Australian model has been adapted by other countries in the development of their legislation. With extremely low levels of disputes, why listen to the political posturing of the minority and spend thousands of taxpayers dollars to dissect an industry already punching above its weight?

Evans believes too many politicians this year have used “coward’s castle” to make unsubstantiated claims about leading, highly regarded franchise brands in a sector employing over 600,000 Australians and offering them a chance to build and own their own business with tried and tested models.

“Let this inquiry be the last inquiry for the franchise sector for some time and allow a sense of certainty to develop within the sector. Businesses fail – that is true – but it is not the Franchising Code of Conduct that let’s them down. Let all people with any gripes against the franchise sector submit to yet another inquiry and allow this report to consider the strength of the franchise sector,” he said.