COSBOA is very pleased with the announcement today by Andrew Leigh, the Labor opposition's competition spokesman, to strengthen the legislation banning unfair clauses in contracts between big and small businesses.
Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, stated that "some big businesses have been snubbing their noses at the current legislation as it lacks any capacity to punish those who abuse their power. The ACCC, who governs this activity, are basically powerless to make certain big businesses stop adding these unfair terms. If the changes proposed by Mr Leigh are made then we will see an immediate change of attitude and behaviour from those recalcitrant businesses or they will be paying big hefty fines.”
COSBOA also supports the proposal to change the threshold level when the legislation takes hold. Currently that is set at $300k per annum and we need that to rise to at least $1m per annum.
Peter Strong added "the worst group we deal with are the big landlords. These multi-billion dollar organisations will sign contracts with tenants full in the knowledge that the small business is likely to fail. They have no ethics when it comes to B2B negotiations and need to be brought to heel. The likes of Westfields, Stocklands or QIC need to realise that a small business is a person, a family, not a smaller version of Coles or Woolworths.”
Mr Strong further added “there will be no negative impact on responsible ethical businesses. This also doesn’t mean that negotiations will not continue to be tough when necessary but it does mean that those few big businesses who flaunt their power and bully those with fewer resources and less capacity will be confronted and finally forced to behave like normal members of society.”