FEDERAL BUDGET 2010: Franchise sectors win access to early-stage mediation services

Businesses operating under the Franchising Code of Conduct will now have access to support for early intervention in disputes under new measures announced in the Federal Budget.

As part of the Government’s 2010-11 Budget, $2.7 million will be provided to support businesses in accessing an early intervention dispute resolution service.

The system, which will also affect businesses under the Produce and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct, along with businesses under the Horticulture and Oilcode codes, will be introduced alongside existing mediation services.

Under the new program, businesses in the early stages of a dispute can call up the resolution service to “informally talk through their concerns” and receive advice about what steps they should take next in the dispute resolution process.

The Government said this will save many businesses from having to move on to a formal mediation process, “which can be costly, stressful and time-consuming”.

Small business minister Craig Emerson said the intervention scheme will help businesses save time and money, and will reduce pressures placed on businesses.

“We want to help small businesses unfortunate enough to find themselves in dispute by providing fast, inexpensive dispute resolution processes,” Emerson said in a statement.

“The vast majority of people who get tangled up in a dispute want to get it settled as quickly as possible – that’s why we have allocated this money to provide dispute resolution services. Businesses in dispute want to sort it out so they can get on with the job.”

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