Date: February 13, 2015
The National Retail Association will today demand action on the long-promised concept of uniform national shop leasing laws, saying business owners are tired of inquiries into shop leasing arrangements that go nowhere.
NRA Chief Executive Office Trevor Evans and retail leasing specialist Michael Lonie will give evidence to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics in Canberra, as part of the committee’s inquiry into the need for a national approach to retail leasing arrangements.
Mr Evans said the NRA strongly supported a uniform national approach to shop leasing, saying the current arrangements, which vary from state to state, are creating confusion and adding an unnecessary cost and regulatory burden to retailers.
Issues that needed to be addressed on a national level included the first right of refusal for tenants to renew their lease, better dispute resolution processes, fairer rent adjustment procedures, requirements around bank guarantees, transparency around incentives, and contractual obligations around store refits.
However, he said retailers had become cynical about inquiries into the subject that produced hefty reports and very little action.
“The NRA certainly supports a national approach to retail leasing arrangements to create a fairer system and reduce the burden on small to medium businesses, while also benefiting landlords,” Mr Evans said.
“There’s no secret to this position. It’s the same position we gave to the Productivity Commission inquiry on this subject in 2008, and again in 2014 when it examined the retail industry.
“It’s the same position we have given to a number of state-based reviews of retail leasing as well. At some point retailers are entitled to ask ‘how many inquiries are needed before something will be done?’.
“We commend the Senate Committee for its interest in the subject, but we urge them to keep up political pressure and make sure Federal and State Governments act on their recommendations.”
The NRA is Australia’s largest and most diverse retail industry organisation, and has been representing the interests of the retail, fast food and broader service sector for almost 100 years.
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