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Consumers ignored in franchising code discussion paper

There is one consideration missing from the automotive franchising code discussion paper released today - the Australian consumer, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, the Hon. Stuart Robert, today released a discussion paper that considers further reforms to the Franchising Code of Conduct introduced on 1 July this year.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Chief Executive Tony Weber said by failing to consider the consumer, the discussion paper appears to put the interests of one component of the supply chain over Australian families.

“The ink is not yet dry on far reaching industry regulations introduced last month. Their impact needs to be seen before more regulations are contemplated,” Mr Weber said.

“The Government describes its franchising reforms as having already delivered ‘big wins’ to dealers, but where there’s a winner there’s also a loser – and in this case it’s the Australian consumer.

“Automotive franchising is a consumer issue, not an industry protection issue. It should focus on providing consumer choice not dealer protection at the expense of all others. Regulation should encourage innovation and flexibility for business, not leave it anchored in the last century.”

Mr Weber said Australia already has extensive competition and franchising regulations and any further regulation would stifle the industry’s capacity to innovate to meet the changing needs of the Australian consumer.

“Over-regulation will not protect the industry but what will is a choice of sales models, better service and competitive pricing.

“The FCAI looks forward to working with industry stakeholders and the Federal Government on this important issue,” Mr Weber said.