‘Political football’: Government under pressure on franchising inquiry

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Ms King said Labor would act swiftly if elected.

“Issues in the fraught franchising industry have been treated as a political football for too long by this government,” she said. “A Shorten Labor government will establish a franchising taskforce to implement the recommendations of this inquiry, as a matter of urgency.”

The government is yet to adopt any of the recommendations from the inquiry.

Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash said the government is still considering the report.

Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash said the government is still considering the report. Credit:AAP

Minister for Small Business Michaelia Cash said the government is in “election commitment mode” and any action on franchising would be by way of commitment.

“We have the report and are currently considering it,” she said. “It is a very detailed report.”

Senator John Williams, who was instrumental in calling for the inquiry, said action was needed.

I hope this report does not just sit on the bench and gather dust.

Senator John Williams

“I hope this report does not just sit on the bench and gather dust,” he said. “It’s important it be addressed straight after the election or as soon as possible to protect the small businesses.”

Mr Williams recalled when he moved an inquiry into liquidators in 2009 the changes did not occur until 2017.

“These things take time,” he said. “We have to keep the heat on them, I don’t want it to go to waste. We have so many people hurt so badly with this industry.”

Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell.

Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell. Credit:Peter Braig

Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said her office was prepared to spend “a major amount of time” ensuring the inquiry’s recommendations were adopted.

“It would be good to see some commitments from both sides of politics prior to the election,” she said.

The parliamentary inquiry was triggered by a series of media investigations by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald into 7-Eleven, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Caltex and Retail Food Group where franchisees described franchising as “indentured servitude” or slavery.

Cara is the small business editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald based in Melbourne

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