Greens call for Small Business Commissioner to be given real teeth

Mark_BrennanTNThe Australian Greens say they will formalise the role of the Federal Small Business Commissioner in legislation with a private member’s bill to be introduced into the Senate later this month.

The Australian Greens say they will formalise the role of the Federal Small Business Commissioner in legislation with a private member’s bill to be introduced into the Senate later this month.Mark_BrennanLG

Following the recent commencement of Mark Brennan’s (pictured) tenure as Australia’s inaugural Small Business Commissioner, Greens small business spokesperson Senator Peter Whish-Wilson stated the Party was committed to seeing the role given some ‘real teeth’ in order for it to operate effectively.

“A legislated Small Business Commissioner will also provide certainty any incoming Government couldn’t easily abolish the position, as happened recently in Queensland,” he argues. “Under this Bill the Commissioner would have some genuine clout when it came to the question of acting as an honest broker in disputes between Commonwealth departments and agencies. They would receive and investigate complaints by or on behalf of small businesses regarding their commercial dealings with Commonwealth departments and agencies and would help facilitate a resolution.

“Too often we hear stories of small businesses who have won government contracts complaining of the unnecessary complexities involved, or the amount of time it takes for them to be paid.”

Whish-Wilson says that another requirement of the office of the Small Business Commissioner would be to facilitate research on national trends in small business and to present an annual report to Parliament on the state of small business in Australia. The Greens believe this would ensure small business issues are heard by the Parliament and are at the forefront of economic policy discussion and development.

For more on the Small Business Commissioner, read our exclusive interview with Mark Brennan in the forthcoming February 2013 print issue of My Business.

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