South Australia to get new Premier, Franchise Council hoping for rethink on state-based franchising laws

The leadership shuffle in South Australia has prompted Franchising Council chief Steve Wright to urge the new Government to block the passage of franchising laws that would regulate the sector beyond existing national guidelines.

While the laws were due to come before caucus last month, Wright says the resignation of Premier Mike Rann, who has served as Premier for nine years, after being asked to step down by Labor party members could provide a chance for the bill to be rejected.

Current education minister Jay Weatherill is tipped to take the state’s top post.

“We’re hopeful this might prompt a rethink on any intention to introduce franchising laws in South Australia, and we’re optimistic that it might prompt a rethink on the open question of South Australian introducing its own franchising rules,” Wright says.

“This would make it the only state in the country to do so.”

The South Australian laws have been championed by MP Tony Piccolo, who was contacted this morning by SmartCompany, although no reply was available prior to publication. Piccolo has urged reform for the past four years.

The legislation would introduce a “good faith” clause and penalties for breaking a new franchising code of conduct.

But Wright says the change in leadership, which may also prompt a change in portfolio positions as well, could possibly see the laws come up for review and eventually rejected.

“South Australia is the worst performing state in terms of business confidence, and the South Australian franchising community has express this.”

“This happened in Western Australia, and what was discussed there was that the change would not improve business confidence, it would undermine it. The WA Government appears to have heard that, and the committee which looked into state-based laws was firmly against the idea.”

Wright says he hopes the new SA Government will adopt a similar stance.

“It would be premature to make too many assumptions at this stage, so we’re just optimistic that there might be at least a review of this go-it-alone path.”

“Particularly when similar proposals recently reviewed by other governments have found they are counter-productive.”

Rann has indicated that while he will step down after losing support from the state’s right faction, this will not occur for several weeks as he wants to hand over power during a “transition period”.

“Before I step down as Premier and leader, there are a several key projects that I should complete, including, most importantly, the go-ahead for the Olympic Dam expansion,” he said on the weekend.


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