Home' The Channel Magazine : N-view 2016 Contents 69
ANF COO, Adam Joy
2015 was a busy year for policy reform, with a number of
important issues affecting newsagents being resolved and
The extension of Unfair Contract terms legislation to small
businesses was finalised, with a considerable win for the ANF
in establishing stronger thresholds through our advocacy
work, particularly with the Senate. This important reform
will have lasting long-term impacts to fairness and equity in
contracting for our members.
Debate on competition law reform continued at a hot pace in
Canberra with the big and small ends of the business divide
lobbying furiously over Section 46 and the misuse of market
Penalty rates moved back onto the government policy
agenda with recommendations coming from the Productivity
Commission’s report on the Workplace relations framework
advocating for new reform.
Other significant work included; consultations with the RBA
on payments system regulation reform that will likely impact
the growing cost of merchant fees for newsagents, but
that will also limit the amount newsagents can surcharge
for taking card payments. The ANF also made a number of
representations to the ACCC on the MPA magazine code trial,
and with the Australian Bankers Association and the Attorney
Generals Department on money remittance changes. We
also prepared further submissions on competition law reform
and tobacco regulation and worked closely with COSBOA
on small business policy which resulted in some excellent
outcomes in the Federal budget in 2015.
Extending Unfair Contract Terms (UCT) protections to Small
During 2015 the ANF made the UCT legislation our primary
focus, below is a summary of this work:
The ANF participated in a further round of consultation
and provided a submission on the final draft legislation.
The legislation was introduced and passed the lower
The Selection of Bills Committee referred the provisions
of the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Small Business
and Unfair Contract Terms) Bill 2015 to the Senate
Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report.
The ANF provided a further detailed submission to this
inquiry, arguing strongly for higher thresholds to capture
more of contracts.
The ANF met with Greens Senator Whish-Wilson’s chief
of staff, as the Greens Small Business spokesperson
at the time, to discuss the greens position on this
legislation and potential amendments. We also met with
Independent Senator Jacquie Lambie’s office.
We provided a model of amendments to the existing
Senator Whish-Wilson put up an amendment following
our model and it was passed in the senate in September.
It took the threshold for this important legislation from
$100k to $300k for one year contracts and from $250k
to $1 million for multi-year contracts.
In October, the new Federal Small Business Minister,
the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, announced the Government
had changed its approach on the thresholds for Unfair
Contract Terms Legislation, and would now support the
increased thresholds the ANF recommended and that
were amended in the Senate.
The amended bill passed both houses of parliament on
The ANF had lobbied for over five years to see this
legislation first introduced and then we continued this
pressure over the last nine months to ensure the thresholds
were adequate and not too low to have an impact. This is
a great example of why a strong national body is essential
and why our advocacy and policy efforts can have long term
meaningful impacts on member businesses.
NEXT STEPS: With the 12 month phase in period for the
new UCT protections, we have started work on identifying
potentially unfair terms in member contracts. During this
period we have a great opportunity to start a constructive
dialogue with our industry partners about potentially unfair
terms and any new terms being introduced that members are
concerned about. Through positive engagement we hope
to deal with most issues members raise while contracts are
being reviewed, so that we do not need to raise many issues
with the ACCC once the legislation becomes enforceable.
ANF members have been asked to email with any terms from
their contracts that they view as unfair and to explain why.
Online readers can click here to access email and to read
more about unfair contracts in the newsagency channel.
Consultations on the Review of Card Payments Regulation
with the RBA
During 2015, the ANF prepared a detailed submission on
card payments regulation and the impact of increasing
merchant costs for our members, as part of this review. We
were invited to attend a roundtable with the banks, card
companies and other interested stakeholders at the RBA in
June and we were also invited for a direct consultation with
Dr Tony Richards, Head of the Payments Policy at the RBA.
This was to ensure that the RBA understood that the costs of
the payment system must be fairly paid for by all participants,
National Policy Manager,
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