As we recently reported, after a lengthy search period, Federal Small Business Minister Brendan O'Connor has announced former Victorian Small Business Commissioner Mark Brennan as the inaugural Australian Small Business Commissioner.
While congratulating Brennan on his appointment, SMEAA CEO Caroline Hong says it remains unclear on how the role of Australian Small Business Commissioner will advocate and support the SME sector.
“The question is, how much money is allocated to the creation of the office of Small Business Commissioners, and to actual advocacy outcomes,” Hong argues. “Some of our members question if the same money could have been better spent on directly providing services and benefits to SMEs in helping them overcome government red tape, gaining business skills, helping them stay in business, growing their business globally and helping them prosper.
“It’s time that the Australian government considers creating a portfolio such as a Minister for SMEs. A Small Business Commissioner’s role should not just cater for small businesses but to all SMEs, considering that in this country there are 2,045 000 small businesses that employ 47 per cent of the total workforce, and 81,000 medium businesses that employ 23 per cent of the total workforce. Small businesses often do not intend to stay small – many aspire to become medium and big one day.
“The focus of the Australian Small Business Commissioner’s role on advocacy is probably a good thing, but advocacy is not really effective if it fails to consult or work with SME business bodies that have small business owners and operators as their stakeholders.”
My Business is the official publication of the SMEAA. For more on the SMEAA including the benefits of membership, visit www.smeaustralia.asn.au.
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