Small businesses in Knox and government will now operate on a more level playing field with Victoria’s Small Business Commissioner receiving enhanced authority to help small businesses resolve disputes with government bodies.
Member for Ferntree Gully, Nick Wakeling MP said the Commissioner had new powers to resolve disputes between small businesses and local councils, state government departments and agencies – saving businesses time and money by avoiding lengthy court processes.
The changes will see the Small Business Commissioner provide a broader range of low cost dispute resolution services, in addition to the existing meditation functions already in place, such as:
- assisted negotiation
- facilitated meetings
The amendments will also allow the Commissioner to place information on the public record, including naming businesses or government agencies that unreasonably refuse to take part in alternative dispute resolution in an Annual Report.
“Small businesses make a major contribution to the Victorian economy, accounting for 96 per cent of all businesses and 47 per cent of private sector jobs,” Mr Wakeling said.
“New and improved powers for the Commissioner will ensure more small businesses successfully resolve what can often be enormously disruptive disputes so that they can get on with doing what they do best – serving the local community,” Mr Wakeling said.
Minister for Small Business Russell Northe said creating a strong environment in which to do business was part of the Coalition’s plan to build a better Victoria and create jobs for the future.
“The Victorian Small Business Commissioner is a national leader in providing low cost dispute resolution services for small business and these reforms will ensure Victoria remains Australia’s best location for starting and running a small business,” Mr Northe said.
The amendments to the Small Business Commissioner Act 2003 followthe Victorian Coalition Government’s review of the Act last year.