ACCC combines small business and franchising committees

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ACCC combines small business and franchising committees

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has combined its small business and franchising consultative committees into a single committee with 26 representatives.

The competition watchdog previously convened two separate committees for the small business and franchising sectors, which were each made up of around 15 representatives.

However, Michael Schaper, deputy chair of the ACCC, told SmartCompany the watchdog found there was some overlap between the two committees and the two groups shared “a lot of common interests”.

The ACCC’s Small Business and Franchising Consultative Committee includes representatives from business associations, including the Council of Small Business of Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as industry representatives from sectors including retail, convenience stores, real estate, pharmacies, grocers, restaurants and catering and construction.

Several franchising associations are represented on the committee, including the Franchise Council of Australia, the Franchise Advisory Centre, the Franchisee Relationships Institute and the Franchisee Association of Australia.

Appointments to the ACCC’s consultative committees are generally made for a period of two years and Schaper says this time around, the ACCC received around 100 applications.

The committee will meet two times during the year and Schaper says the meetings involve the ACCC reporting to the committee about its activities and priorities and committee members raising issues they would like the ACCC to look into.

“It’s a two-way process,” he says.

“We tell what we’re doing and it is an important chance to raise things.”

Among the key issues on the agenda for the committee this year is the forthcoming introduction of laws to protect small businesses from unfair contract terms.

“The second one is the changes to the credit card surcharge rules,” Schaper says.

“And the third one is working closely with the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman around access to justice and related issues.”

Schaper says the committee will also consider the federal government’s decision about any proposed changes to provisions in the Competition Act that deal with misuse of market power.

This includes the proposed introduction of an effects test into Australian competition law, which was one of the recommendations made by the Harper competition review.

The federal government has formally responded to the majority of the Harper review’s recommendations but is still undertaking consultation around any change to Section 46 of the act.

Schaper says any potential change to competition law with “very much” be on the table for the committee to discuss.

The full membership of the ACCC’s Small Business and Franchising Committee is:

  • Australasian Association of Convenience Stores – Jeff Rogut

  • Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Stephen Ferguson

  • Australian Newsagents’ Federation – Ben Kearney

  • Australian Retailers Association – Russell Zimmerman

  • Business Incubation and Innovation Australia – Phillip Kemp

  • Council of Small Business of Australia – Paul Nielsen

  • Curtin Business School – Dr Paull Weber

  • Franchise Advisory Centre – Jason Gehrke

  • Franchise Council of Australia

  • Franchisee Relationships Institute – Greg Nathan

  • Franchisee Association of Australia – David Beddall

  • Franchisee Success – Elizabeth Gillam

  • FRANdata – Darryn McAuliffe

  • Independent Contractors of Australia – Ken Phillips

  • Institute of Public Accountants – Andrew Conway

  • Law Council of Australia – Jon Clarke

  • Master Builders of Australia – Dr Brent Davis

  • Master Grocers Australia – Jos de Bruin

  • McInnes Wilson Lawyers – Alicia Hill

  • Motor Trades Association of Australia – Richard Dudley

  • Real Estate Institute of Australia – Jock Kreitals

  • Restaurant and Catering Industry Association – Sally Neville

  • Tasmanian Small Business Council – Geoff Fader

  • The Pharmacy Guild of Australia – David Quilty

  • University of New South Wales Business School – Dr Jenny Buchan

  • University of Sydney – Professor Andrew Terry

     

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Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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