Following a period of consultation on a discussion paper, the Federal Government has settled on a model with real powers for the transition of the Small Business Commissioner into the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.
The government said this latest update in the transition of the Small Business Commissioner role, currently held by Mark Brennan, into the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman role, will introduce a new, easier way for small businesses to interact with the Commonwealth to access assistance.
As part of its key responsibilities, the Ombudsman will be a:
· Commonwealth-wide advocate for small businesses and family enterprises;
· Concierge for dispute resolution service; and
· Contributor to the development of small business friendly Commonwealth laws and regulations.
The Ombudsman will also seamlessly link with the Government’s Single Business Service to help small businesses easily find out about other Government services and programmes, including general business advice. Federal Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson said the Government wants to make certain small businesses are satisfied the Ombudsman delivers on our commitment to establish an independent role with real power.
“It can be frustrating for smaller businesses to make sense of the often complex information and broad array of services on offer,” Billson, said. “The Government wants to help businesses help themselves, and the Ombudsman will provide straightforward, honest advice that will help businesses understand disputes and how they can be avoided in the future.”
Minister Billson said small business owners will shortly be invited to comment on the draft legislation that will cement the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman as a, “powerful asset in the small business community”.
The Australian Small Business Commissioner will continue to operate while the role of the Ombudsman is being established.
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