The NSW government has appointed former ACCC associate commissioner Yasmin King as the state’s first small business commissioner, just one month after it began the recruitment process.
The appointment of a small business commissioner was part of an election promise by NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to provide additional support to the small business sector.
With a background in economics and finance, King is a former associate commissioner for the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission. She has also run her own consultancy and a family business.
In her new role, King will act to protect the rights of NSW small businesses by providing a low-cost dispute-resolution mechanism, essentially acting as a “one-stop-shop” for small business complaints about unfair market practices.
King will monitor and report to the state’s small business minister on any emerging trends or market practices that have an impact on small businesses.
She will review the legislative and administrative environment in NSW, while advocating for the needs of small business to be properly factored in to the practices of government.
King could not be reached for comment, but O’Farrell said earlier this week he is confident King will “champion the interests” of small business in government policy, acting as a “burr under the saddle of government” to make that happen.
Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, says he will be organising a meeting with King as soon as possible.
Strong says leasing arrangements will be his main focus when he meets with King, namely sky-high rents and the practices of retail landlords.
“When a small business takes out a lease, they’re so excited and optimistic that they’re taken advantage of by big landlords because of their human behaviour,” Strong says.
“I want to appeal to King by emphasising the fact that small business owners are people and therefore need the same treatment as other people.”
NSW is the second state to appoint a Small Business Commissioner, following on from Victoria. South Australia is in the process of appointing its own commissioner, while the WA government has introduced legislation to establish a commissioner as well.