NSW Small Business Commissioner – Consultation Paper On Proposed Legislation: Legal Matters

SMEs urged to speak out on NSW small business commissioner role

By Michelle Hammond
Friday, 15 June 2012

Small businesses are being encouraged to have their say on proposed legislation to support the role of the NSW small business commissioner, two weeks after the NSW Opposition slammed the lack of legislation for the role.


Katrina Hodgkinson, NSW Minister for Small Business, said small businesses are being encouraged to have their say in a consultation paper on proposed legislation for the role.


“This process will ensure the small business commissioner legislation reflects best practice and meets the needs of our small businesses,’’ Hodgkinson said in a statement.


By consulting with small business, Hodgkinson said the NSW Government is seeking to equip the commissioner “with tools which will make the commissioner’s role practical and effective”.


The NSW Government appointed former ACCC associate commissioner Yasmin King as the state’s first small business commissioner in July last year.


The appointment was part of an election promise by NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to provide additional support to the small business sector.


King is responsible for protecting 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.


“This consultation paper is seeking the public’s comments on the role and functions of the small business commissioner,” Hodgkinson said.


The consultation paper and a survey are available at the NSW Small Business website. The consultation period will end at 5pm on Friday, July 27, 2012.


The move comes two weeks after the NSW Opposition introduced a bill to give the state’s small business commissioner “real teeth” to represent and protect NSW small businesses.


Adam Searle, NSW shadow minister for small business, introduced the bill into State Parliament.


According to Searle, the O’Farrell government has “failed to deliver” with regard to legislation for the role of the commissioner.


“Before the last election, the Coalition promised to create a small business commissioner to advocate for small businesses, provide a low-cost mediation service and cut red tape,” Searle said in a statement.


“They appointed a commissioner… but neglected to provide any legislative basis for her role or her functions… That is why I have acted.”


“We will be consulting widely on this bill with small business operators, representative organisations and other interested persons.”

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