18 October 2013
Media Release - #2013005, 2013

Government outlines plans for small business and family enterprise ombudsman

The Federal Government has started to outline some of its plans to transform the Federal Small Business Commissioner's role into one with real tools and teeth at a meeting of state based commissioners in Melbourne yesterday.

We want to create a single entry point for small business to access Federal small business programmes and support, to contribute to making Commonwealth laws and regulations more small business friendly and as a 'concierge' for dispute resolution.

At the same time we don't want to double up on the good work of state based commissioners.

It's important state and federal jurisdictions work closely together, not only to share knowledge and learning, but to make sure we don't duplicate state services or create "forum shopping" opportunities for the multiple handling of single concerns or grievances.

I was heartened to hear the willingness of our state based commissioners to work with the Commonwealth as we move to create an enhanced role for Mark Brennan in his federal based role.

It's important we transform this role as we move to arrest the decline of small business employment which under Labor saw the loss of 412,000 jobs and 3,000 employing small businesses in the sector.

We want to see a renaissance in enterprise because the Coalition knows small business is the engine-room of the economy as we look to turn around the economy post the mining boom.

The Coalition is looking to commence consultation on the development of an options paper later this year with further work to happen throughout 2014 on legislation.

The role of small business commissioners is vitally important as evidenced by the pickup in referrals and activity within the state based commissioner offices and the ongoing high levels of small business satisfaction with these services.