Protecting Our Local Newsagents

Member for Charlestown, Jodie Harrison, said today that a NSW Labor Government will enact laws to enshrine local newsagents as the primary distribution agents for NSW Lotteries – protecting this vital sector from financial hardship and potential closures.

Ms Harrison met with representative of the Newsagents Association of NSW & ACT during the recent by-election to hear their concerns for the future of their industry.

“In many suburbs the local newsagency is the last local store left, but they could die out if further changes are made to the lottery system” Ms Harrison said.

“The news industry is being attached on two fronts, with job losses in the newsrooms and now these proposed changes to newsagencies. We need to ensure there are jobs in the news business into the future.”

Around 1,500 newsagents and other small businesses will face financial hardship and possible closure when the current Agency Protection Period expires in April.

The proposed new franchise agreement includes increasing the number of agents in the distribution network and allowing big businesses, such as the major supermarket chains, into the network; not providing any geographic or other form of exclusivity to the lottery agent; imposing expensive fit-out requirements on all lottery agents costing up to $25,000; and the sweeping of lottery agent bank accounts on multiple occasions per week, seriously disrupting cash flows.

Labor’s plan to protect local newsagents includes:

Enacting laws that preserve the current agency protections, until such time as the parties reach agreement on new terms;

  1. Continuing to restrict outlets selling lottery products to newsagencies and other small businesses; and
  2. Working with local newsagents and the private operator to ensure a sensible commercial arrangement is established that is fair to all parties.

Income from lotteries is around 40 per cent of turnover in a local newsagency and can reach as high as 90 per cent – any loss of that business would place our local newsagents in financial jeopardy.

“Under Labor, the Agency Protection Period that is due to expire in April would be extended until the parties concerned can sit down and hammer out a fair agreement that allows the private operator to grow the business but retains newsagents as the primary distributor. 

“I’m calling on Mike Baird to stand up for our small businesses and demand that the Baird Liberal Government commit to match Labor’s policy to protect local newsagents.”