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Monday, 1 December 2003
Page: 23327

Ms GAMBARO (3:52 PM) —I move:

That this House:

(1) recognises that franchising in Australia contributes $80 billion to the Australian economy and represents 12% of GDP;

(2) acknowledges the mandatory code of conduct in franchising and its support in the sector;

(3) acknowledges that franchising forms an important part of small business and offers new entrants greater security than stand alone businesses;

(4) recognises the importance franchising plays in the export earnings of this country; and

(5) recognises that franchising has over 50,000 workplaces and employs more than 500,000 Australians.

I would like to take the opportunity in speaking to this motion to recognise the presence of some important visitors here today—they include: Franchisor of the Year, Mr Noel Carroll of Michel's Patisserie; Franchisee of the Year, Ian Mahon of Kwik Kopy Blacktown; Woman of the Year in Franchising, Connie Mason; and many other representatives of the 651,900 Australians who are employed in one of the biggest, most productive and fastest-growing sectors of the Australian economy. I speak of franchising, and today I want to congratulate these visitors on participating in the national capital in Australia's first Franchise Appreciation Day. I also wish to commend the CEO of the Franchise Council of Australia, Richard Evans, his associate Stephen Giles and each of the state directors of all of the hardworking divisions for their decision to have the day and their devotion to it, and I thank them for their hard work.

Franchising is an area of which I have first-hand knowledge. Before I entered parliament, I worked as the marketing manager for the Queensland chapter of the Franchisors Council of Australia and New Zealand, and I helped to draw up the first mandatory franchising regulation, the franchising code of conduct.

If there was ever an economic group that deserved congratulating it is the franchisors and franchisees of Australia. As well as employing 651,000 workers, they contribute some 12 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product. That equates to an enormous figure—around $80 billion this financial year. In 1998-99 franchising created 4,600 new businesses, and in a four-year period up to 1999 it created 400,000 new jobs which went to mature age people and young people in the area. It is also a very important import-export earner and one of Australia's fastest-expanding overseas builders of international markets. Twenty-four per cent of operators are already secured overseas, and another 27 per cent are planning to begin operating offshore in the next three years.

Franchising is a commercial activity so far-reaching it touches the lives of most Australians every day. From cradle to grave, day and night, it determines our environment, the economic and social orbit we move in, what we eat, wear and drive, where we live, how we work and who we meet. We wake up in this franchised world in a house that we bought through a real estate franchise in a bed bought from a homewares franchise. We make our breakfasts in kitchens outfitted and stocked by a home decor franchise, eat toast from our local franchised bakery, brew coffee from a franchised importer and read newspapers from agencies which belong to a growing news chain. We lunch in chain bistros or takeaways, our kids lunch at franchised fast food outlets, and we toast the end of another day in the franchise universe with a soothing bottle from a local liquor franchise, where the shelves and prices are reassuringly similar wherever we happen to be.

Australia is the most franchised nation per head of population in the world. Australia has more franchise systems than any other country, with at least three times more than the number of franchise systems per head of population in the United States. Australia has an amazing 747 different franchise systems working through 49,400 outlets in Australia. The majority of them—708—are business franchises. Of those 651,900 Australians in franchising, 553,200 work largely in the retail sector—food, fashion, homewares and leisure.

To a lot of people, franchising means standardisation, but that is not its real meaning. The dictionary defines `franchise' as a right, a privilege or a freedom. We are enfranchised in this place when we have the right to vote, and that particular connection with government is very symbolic. It really underlines the need for government to fully recognise the great contribution that franchising makes to our daily lives and the national economy. Perhaps the most telling point about franchising is its phenomenal growth and success rate. The average life expectancy of current franchise operations is eight years. In small business terms, that spells security, control of one's own destiny and enough time to set goals and make solid returns. In an uncertain world of small business, the attractions of something that survives and succeeds at more than 2½ times the rate of stand-alone businesses speaks for itself. Franchising is the small business future—it is a huge generator of jobs and a great contributor to our economy.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jenkins)—Is the motion seconded?