LPOG Submission to Senate Inquiry
LPOG has made a submission to the Senate Inquiry in to The operation and effectiveness of the Franchising Code of Conduct.
Submissions will continue to be uploaded to the Parliamentary website over the next few days/weeks. Our submission is too large to be posted to our web site, as we would then suffer the same bandwidth issues that POOP gives us at work, but at home too, and all day is enough of spinning wheels! Once the LPOG submission is uploaded it will be listed here - https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Corporati....
For many of us that have already been through the 2014 Senate Inquiry - https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environm... - that certainly raised our great expectations, with not much more than the opportunity to air our grievances and feel validation from the 18 recommendations tabled by the committee. Sadly as a Government Business Enterprise, Australia Post is a law unto itself and the recommendations that validated our claims were robustly ignored or give token lip service by senior Post management, so it is hard to have much faith in this process again. Especially as the initial Chair of the 2014 Inquiry was Senator Williams himself.
However, maybe the time has come where change needs to happen in the franchise industry, and this may be another cog in the wheel driving that change. As Post is the largest retail franchise network in Australia, we must have a voice in any ongoing discussion of the industry we are so heavily invested in. It is safe to say that while most of the recommendations of the 2014 Inquiry mentioned above were ignored, we have seen slight changes made since the Inquiry, both in our payments, and some new key personal who have more regard for the LPO network in the decision making process. The glacial pace is hard to accept for small business such as ours, but we are creeping in the direction of improvement instead of doom which must be acknowledged.
There are some pretty harrowing submissions already published, and it brings home how far LPOG has progressed our case, as there are many of us that did not expect to last 6 months longer in 2013, yet we are still trading today. It is a credit to the teams of Licensees, and the executives of LPOG, who have put in endless unpaid hours over the past 5 years, to move us out of the harrowing submissions list, and into a work in progress situation. It is still far too close to home for many of us though, and the chill still goes up the spine reading our stories about our struggles, from Licensees/franchisees in such similar situations who did in the end, lose everything but a lifetime of debt, pain and suffering. To my dying day, I will be thankful so many of us joined together to take on our salvation, and that we stayed the path to keep us going. We are not saved, but we are still working towards that, with a better chance than we had when we came together in 2013.
It would be fantastic for all stakeholders if this Inquiry could, or would make Franchisors accountable for the viability of their network, however for LPOs, we finally have a body of work underway to reform our payments, and LPOG believes the work must ensure a commercially viable payment schedule for this work to be considered a success, and we have Christine Holgate, Australia Post's new CEO, who values the LPO network as a vital asset of the business. The CEO will shortly be delivering the new strategic plan to the shareholder Ministers, and our future is riding on both of these works.
If our payment reform brings us commercially rewarding business outcomes, the CEO manages to overturn the entrenched culture that denies the value we bring to this business, and the Senate Inquiry can improve the accountability, perhaps we may be in for a good decade ahead. Its a nice thought. I'll leave it at that.