Megaphone Woman

The Office of Small Business Commissioner in New South Wales is proceeding with the review of the Act which lapsed due to the elections earlier this year. The review commenced in 2013 with a series of meetings help with various stakeholders. The discussion paper identified eight key areas of concern. Those areas were:-

  • Information asymmetry
  • Outgoings
  • Fidelity of the bargain
  • Streamlining/simplicity
  • Fair dealings
  • Coverage of the Act
  • Reducing prescriptive regulation
  • Technical issues

The NRA has participated in the review on your behalf, including with written and verbal submissions, and participation at eight meetings held by the Industry Advisory Group. While the process lapsed due to the election, we have now been advised that the OSBC has been requested to prepare recommendations for the minister to include in an amendment bill. We have also been briefed on what is proposed following the outcome of those stakeholders meetings.

Information asymmetry

It is being proposed that landlords will be required to publish effective rents and turnover at a centre level against an agreed criterion. If the landlord fails to publish the data, clauses in leases relating to turnover data will be voided.

Following the recent Queensland review, the NRA engaged in discussions with the Shopping Centre Council of Australia and other bodies to consider whether it was possible to develop a Code of Practice to guide shopping centre owners as to the publication of retail turnover in centres and the provision of that information to retailers and potential retailers looking at entering into a lease within the centre. The success of the Casual Mall Leasing Code is a model that such a code could work in the absence of statutory regulations. However agreement between all parties has not been reached at this stage.

In respect of the publication of “effective rents” there is a question as to how to define a “effective rent”.  The experience with an effective rent for a current market rent review in Queensland has come up with a definition that only the best valuers would be able to comprehend.

Your views on the proposal and these issues would be appreciated.

Click here to access a PDF copy of our briefing document.