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Monday, 1 December 2003
Page: 23299

Ms GAMBARO (2:33 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Small Business and Tourism. Can the minister inform the House of the importance of franchising in Australian business? Is the minister aware of the contribution made by franchising to Australia's economy? Is he aware of other policies relating to franchising?

Mr HOCKEY (Minister for Small Business and Tourism) —I thank the member for Petrie for her question and recognise her small business credentials, as she, like so many others in the Liberal Party and The Nationals, has had real-life experience working in small business.

Honourable member interjecting

Mr HOCKEY —Yes, I have actually. The coalition government appreciates franchising in Australia. There are 700 different franchise systems, from real estate agents to printing operators to food and beverage distributors. There are 50,000 franchisees—read `small businesses'—right across Australia, employing over 300,000 Australians, and that has grown by 20 per cent in the last four years. If there were any doubt about the contribution of franchising to the Australian economy, note this: the turnover in franchising is in excess of $80,000 million. It was this government that introduced a mandatory franchising code of practice, which balances up the interests of the franchisors and franchisees and ensures that in this enormously successful and growing sector the interests of all parties will be taken into consideration.

As the member for Petrie knows, today is Franchising Appreciation Day. I note that the Franchise Council of Australia are in the gallery, and we welcome them. They are great advocates of small business; importantly, employing thousands of Australians. We say that the government will continue to work closely with the Franchise Council of Australia to grow small business and to provide this increasingly important sector with the infrastructure it needs to employ more Australians and create more wealth.