The Minister for Small Business, the Hon Julie Collins has written to the AADA and advised that the Government intends to commence a coordinated franchising review process in the second half of 2023.
This is a statutory review of the automotive schedule to the Competition and Consumer (Industry codes – Franchising) Regulation 2014 (Franchising Code) enacted in 2020, and the amendments to the New Car Dealerships provisions enacted in 2021.
This review process will seek to ensure that there are appropriate regulatory settings in place to support Australia’s franchising sector, including by evaluating the effectiveness of previous reforms.
The AADA met with Treasury officials last week to discuss the review process and outline a number of key areas of interest to AADA members.
As part of the review, the AADA will highlight:
- The need for franchising protections to be expanded to truck Dealers and other automotive franchised Dealers.
- Improving access to justice that doesn’t involve litigation for Dealers.
- Expansion of Unfair Contract Terms (UCT) protections to ensure all franchise agreements qualify for UCT protections, irrespective of the number of employees or annual turnover.
- General issues with the move to an agency model in the automotive industry.
- Ensuring appropriate tenure of agreements.
The AADA will inform members when the review gets underway and engage strongly with members to ensure ample opportunity for feedback to be provided as part of the review.