Business View Oceania | February 2020

25 26 BUSINESS VIEW OCEANIA FEBRUARY 2020 BUSINESS VIEW OCEANIA FEBRUARY 2020 FCA is determined to set an industry benchmark where our members lead the way. Better regulation, not more regulation, and a proactive franchising sector working to set the standard is the best way forward. Running any small business is tough work: Red tape, energy prices, rising rental and overhead costs and the complexity of industrial relations. I’m listening to what members are telling me, and the FCA is advocating to government on their behalf. Advocacy and engagement The Australian Government established an inter- agency Franchising Taskforce in 2019 to consider the recommendations from a 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Australian Franchising Code of Conduct, which is the mandatory code that governs franchising in Australia. The FCA has been actively working with the Taskforce to ensure any potential regulatory changes reflect the need for Code compliance, regulatory enforcement, sustainable business operations, and improved access to education, information and support for franchisees. The FCA has implemented reform, put forward member driven, evidence-based and constructive policy solutions to the Franchising Taskforce, and we are confident that we will see a sensible regulatory response in 2020. Best practice in franchising The FCA has worked hard and introduced real changes over the last 12 months. We will continue to introduce real reform over the coming months through our new member standards. The revised standards will be supported by a set of new guidelines to clarify existing obligations and provide a reference point for day-to-day operations of a franchised business. Franchising is not operating in the same environment that it was 18 months ago, and it’s important that our strategic priorities reflect that reality. Based on member feedback about where to prioritise our attention and focus, the FCA has developed a new strategic plan that recognises the business world that we now operate in, as well as what we want it to be, and sets out the priorities members have talked to me about. The new strategic plan, launched at the 2019 National Franchise Convention, sets out five key objectives: 1. Strategic leadership, underpinning the FCA’s FRANCHI SE COUNC I L OF AUSTRAL I A CEO, Mary Aldred position as a relevant and effective peak business organisation and advocate 2. Membership growth 3. Increased revenue to deliver more for our members 4. Stakeholder relations, creating robust dialogue, informative events and communication 5. Member support and education, providing relevant and specialised training and education programs for our members. The plan articulates already stated positions, to help build a compliant, sustainable and profitable sector. This includes: 1. The development of a mandatory franchise systems register 2. The provision of mandatory advice for potential franchisees 3. Drafting and embedding new member standards, which we are doing right now 4. Sector and issues-based research to help provide a fact-based response and profile on the sector and its key business issues 5. Board governance reform and better engaging franchisees Engaging with franchisees To better engage franchisees, we have established an FCA Franchisee Advisory Committee, representing each Australian state and a broad range of franchising industries. Their thoughtful and experienced input has helped us in the development of the FCA’s new strategic plan, our submissions to the taskforce, and initiating support and resources that help our members address practical business pressures.