Kate Carnell has commenced her role as Australia’s first Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman by telling the small business community she wants to hear from them.
Carnell, the former chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was appointed to the five-year position at the end of January.
The creation of a small business ombudsman has been a policy of the Coalition for some time, but was formally announced in the 2014 federal budget.
She said this morning she wants to spend the first weeks of her new role listening to what the small business community wants from the Ombudsman.
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“My previous experience, including as a small business owner, and working in industry associations representing small businesses and family enterprises, has given me a keen appreciation for the issues faced by the sector,” she said in a statement.
However, Carnell said she wants to build on this my conducting a formal consultation with small businesses, family enterprises and associations that represent these groups. The idea is to canvass the key issues for small businesses and the areas small businesses believe the Ombudsman should focus on.
From the consultation, the Ombudsman’s office will develop an advocacy agenda.
Interested parties can read a discussion paper and submit their ideas and views via the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman website.
“I encourage all small businesses and family enterprises to see myself and my office as their conduit to government,” Carnell said.
“Even after this formal consultation period has closed, we want to continue to hear from small businesses and family enterprises about what they think we could be doing to better support them.”