Franchise industry unrepresented on Government IR working group

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The Franchise Council of Australia has missed out on a seat at the table with Small Business Minister Craig Emerson on the Government’s Small Business Working Group on industrial relations announced yesterday.

The Small Business Working Group has been created to advise specifically on Labor’s new unfair dismissal system, fair dismissal code and other matters of particular concern to small business, according to a Government press release.

The working group, comprised entirely of men, will be chaired by Emerson. It includes:

  • Gary Black, National Retailers’ Association
  • John Hart, Restaurant and Catering Australia
  • Simon Ramsay, Victorian Farmers Federation
  • Greg Holmes, Hotel, Motel and Accommodation Association
  • Bryan Stevens, Real Estate Institute of Australia
  • Pearce Makin, Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce
  • Kieran Schneemann, Pharmacy Guild
  • Peter Bush, McDonald’s
  • Andrew Arkell, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
  • Tony Steven, Council of Small Business of Australia

Peter Bush, chief executive of McDonald’s Restaurants in Australia, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest fast food companies, may seem a strange inclusion to a Small Business Working Group, but his company is also the franchisor for up to 700 McDonald’s franchisees.

SmartCompany sought an interview with Peter Bush to find out who he will be representing on the working group but he was unavailable to comment before publication.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman said Bush was only approached a few days ago by the Minister to take part in the working group, and he is still waiting to hear what it will precisely involve.

SmartCompany was also unable to contact a spokesperson for the Franchise Council of Australia before publication.

Meanwhile, Opposition spokesman for small business Steven Ciobo has attacked the setting up of the group, saying the advice will fall on deaf ears.

“Labor does not have a good track record when it comes to heeding advice from business experts,” Ciobo says.

He has called on Emerson to guarantee that the introduction of the fair dismissal code will not result in the need for small business employers to throw go-away money at vexatious claimants.

“Who will be responsible for proving compliance with the fair dismissal code?” he asks.

“Will a small business employee be required to prove non-compliance with the code or will small business employers be burdened by the need to prove?” Ciobo says.


For more on the Government’s new IR laws, see AWAs on the chopping block.


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