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Emerson launches fair dismissal code consultation

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The Labor Government has begun assembling small business consultation groups to advise it on its proposed fair dismissal code, Small Business Minister Craig Emerson has revealed.

In a speech to the Council of Small Business of Australia in Canberra last night, Emerson said that the membership of a key small business working group to give input into the drafting of the code will be finalised in days and will meet before the end of February.

Emerson also announced the creation of new small business working groups that will be consulted on proposed reforms to the government procurement contracts and on the Government’s project to cut red-tape.

A National Small Business Forum, open to all small business representative organisations, will also be held twice a year, and twice yearly meetings will be convened between business representatives and the Business Enterprise Centre Network.

The Business Enterprise Centre Network, an advisory network for small business, was singled out for a funding boost, with Emerson announcing last night that the Rudd Government will provide ongoing funding of between $100,000 and $350,000 a year to 36 Business Enterprise Centres to expand the advice they are able to provide new and existing business owners.

COSBOA was nominated by Emerson as a key Rudd Government partner in the speech. It will sit on the fair dismissal code working group and will meet with the Government four times a year.

“COSBOA will be given a central role in this consultation process. COSBOA has on several occasions clearly disagreed with Labor policy, notably on unfair dismissal. That’s the strength of our great democracy. But COSBOA also said it would be willing to work with a Labor Government on the development of a fair dismissal code,” Emerson said.

Key questions remain about the timing of the fair dismissal code, and in particular whether it will be finalised and in place before any change to existing unfair dismissal laws.

SmartCompany attempted to reach Emerson, but he was unable to call back before publication today.

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