18/06/2009 - 15:51

State boosts powers of retail tenants

18/06/2009 - 15:51


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The state government plans major refoms that will give greater protection and power to retail tenants in their leasing negotiations with landlords.

The state government plans major refoms that will give greater protection and power to retail tenants in their leasing negotiations with landlords.


The Minister's statement is below:


State Government gives more support to small business


Following years of neglect by the previous Labor Government, the Liberal-National Government will introduce legislative amendments to create a fairer environment for retail tenants and small business.

Commerce Minister Troy Buswell said measures to improve transparency and accountability in the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 would be introduced into State Parliament in September this year.

"Small businesses involved in retail tenancies suffered seven years of neglect under the former Labor government," Mr Buswell said.

"The outcome of a review of the Act initiated in 2002 by then Minister for Small Business, Clive Brown, was 61 recommendations for reform published in February 2003.

"Retail tenants had to wait until 2006 for Labor to take any action and, even then, only nine of the 61 recommendations were included in legislation that did not commence until May 2007.

"This Government will implement the outstanding legislative amendments, such as requiring landlords to include additional information in disclosure statements and prohibiting landlords from passing on legal fees to tenants."

The changes will assist in redressing the information imbalance that can occur between landlords and tenants, and will ensure the Act provides a fair and transparent framework in which parties can pursue their commercial interests.

In particular, the proposed amendments will incorporate new provisions into the Act which will:

- allow tenants to make more informed leasing decisions by requiring landlords to include additional information in the disclosure statements provided to tenants

- enhance security of tenure, protecting the rights of tenants with respect to renewal options and shopping centre redevelopments or relocations

- improve the negotiating power of tenants by prohibiting landlords from passing on their legal fees to tenants

- assist in the preparation of more consistent and equitable rent reviews by requiring landlords and tenants to supply valuers with relevant leasing information.

The amendments will also bring Western Australia into line with retail tenancy legislation in other States and Territories.

These amendments are part of a range of measures introduced by the Liberal-National Government to assist small businesses including:

- a one-off payroll tax rebate for small and medium-sized businesses worth $100million

- land tax measures worth more than $20million over four years

- $10.6million over two years for rebates of workers' compensation premiums for first-year apprentices and trainees

- $5.7million over two years to provide pathways for people disadvantaged in the labour market

- additional resources for a rapid response team to support employers and apprentices affected by the economic downturn

- a $2million 'BIZFit' program to boost business resilience.

"There are more than 196,000 small businesses in WA and this State Government recognises that by supporting them, we are supporting local jobs," the Minister said.



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