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Monday, 1 December 2003
Page: 23329

Dr WASHER (4:03 PM) —I join my colleague the member for Petrie in recognising the importance of the franchise sector to the Australian economy, as set out in her very informative motion to this House, and I thank the member for Hunter for his support. Franchising is vitally important to Australia. It provides opportunities for small operators to grow their businesses, it provides opportunities for Australians to enter small business with a sense of security and it provides jobs.

More than 600,000 Australians are employed in business franchises, at more than 50,000 workplaces. By any measure, this is an impressive contribution to the wealth of Australia. It is also important to identify that franchising is the only sector within Australian commerce that operates under a mandatory code of conduct. It is important for the House to know that the Chairman of the ACCC, Graeme Samuel, has acknowledged that codes are an important process in Australian competition and commerce. The House should also note that the franchising code of conduct, implemented by the Howard government in 1998, has proved to be an important tool for protecting small business and providing security for Australians embarking on a business venture as a franchisee.

Franchising is everywhere. In my own electorate of Moore, some of the best small business success stories are in the franchising sector. For example, Phil Bailey and Miles Wood hold the franchise for the Hog's Breath Cafe in Joondalup. As part of a team of franchisees, they benefit from the franchise experience in many ways. Their greatest asset is that they are part of a team with whom they can talk, give and get support and discuss how problems are handled. But the franchise system still leaves plenty of room for individuality and entrepreneurship. Phil and Miles have won numerous awards over the past few years, including Best Themed Restaurant—for three years running—and, this year, Best Family Restaurant in Perth.

Stand-alone small businesses still operating three years from start-up have only a 20 per cent success rate. Franchising has an 80 per cent success rate, which clearly indicates that—while there are never any guarantees—franchising may be able to offer greater security to new small business entrants. Franchising is extremely important to the Australian economy, and let us not forget that the small business sector, which includes franchisees as well as stand-alone operators, is a significant contributor to Australia's economy, employing well over three million people. We all need franchising in Australia. I thank the member for Petrie for her initiative in bringing this motion to the House on Franchise Appreciation Day.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jenkins)—Order! The time allotted for the debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting. (Quorum formed)