On 4 September 2014, the Federal Parliament passed the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Industry Code Penalties) Bill 2014 (Cth) (the Bill).  The Bill introduces civil penalty provisions which enable pecuniary penalties to be imposed and infringement notices to be issued for breach of the Franchising Code of Conduct (the Code) by franchisors or franchisees.  The ACCC will have the power to issue infringement notices of $8,500 to franchisors and franchisees who breach a civil penalty provision and the Court will have the power to impose a pecuniary penalty of up to $51,000 for these breaches.

Additional reforms to the Code are expected to be introduced later this year, which will include obligations for franchisors and franchisees to act in good faith, improve disclosure to franchisees, reduce red tape, improve transparency of marketing funds and limit the enforceability of restraint of trade clauses in special circumstances.