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CANBERRA, Australia — Whether it's Canada's new franchise law that kicked in at the beginning of 2011 in New Brunswick on its way to Manitoba, or America's new Business Opportunity Rule introduced for the first time in November, regulation has rolled out globally this year, following a cacophony of investor complaints.
Nowhere is this convergence of complaints and the threat of regulation epitomized more than in Australia.
Appointed in August, Rod Sims is already shaking things up as the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. This year Mr. Sims bravely went into the lion's den. In a meeting with the nation's trade group for franchising companies, Sims told Australia's franchisors that they needed to clean up their act or he would.
"We can perhaps look more closely to see where franchisees have been misled, and pursue pecuniary penalties and other remedies," he told the room of members from the Franchise Council of Australia. "Improvements in this area alone would greatly improve the reputation of franchising, and it's an area where we (the ACCC) can be more effective."
Complaints by franchise owners of deception and abusive franchisors have been making the evening news for the past couple of years. That's sparked members of parliament from down in South Australia to Western Australia to look at new franchise regulation.
An economist, Mr. Sims has previously worked as the Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Deputy Secretary responsible for Transport in the Department of Transport and Communications.