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Quality reform sometimes comes in ‘small’ packages

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sometimes important reforms look ‘small’. One of these is the Federal Small Business Ombudsman Bill that is now before Parliament.

It might look like a minor reform but it’s important. It will fill in gaps where the state Small Business Commissioners don’t have jurisdiction. What’s developing is a fairly comprehensive process that enables small business people to achieve some measure of cheap dispute resolution. This is not only good for small business people but also the broader economy. A well functioning economy needs efficiency in how commercial disputes are fixed.

A Senate Committee is reviewing the Bill. ICA has made a submission suggesting some improvements.

  • asking Parliament to make it compulsory for all Commonwealth government entities to undertake mediation when in a commercial dispute with a small business. And they must do this before litigating. This would be big step for government but a real commitment to small business fairness. Lead by example, we say!
  • wanting to ensure that the Commonwealth mediation process is low cost.
We’re following up our submission with direct representation to Senate members.

Don’t forget that if you currently have an unresolved dispute, you can already go to your state Small Business Commissioner. Here are the links to the state SBCs in Victoria, SA, WA and NSW.


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