Help wanted: Job ad goes up for the first Australian small business commissioner

There’s a new job advertisement in the paper today for an “experienced, visionary leader” with a “thorough understanding” of small business, if you think that sums you up then perhaps you should consider being the first federal small business commissioner.


After announcing that it would establish a small business commissioner back in March and then allocating funds in last month’s budget, the Federal Government is now hiring.

The job advertisement says the commissioner will be appointed by and report directly to the Minister for Small Business, Brendan O’Connor.

Following the budget, O’Connor said he does not have a preference for the commissioner’s background, saying that candidates from academia, regulatory positions and small business would all be eligible.

The job advertisement says the commissioner will provide leadership, in consultation with industry and collaboration with other jurisdictions, to enhance partnerships in delivering services to small businesses.

The commissioner will also establish a National Information and Referral Service to assist small business with the resolution of business to business disputes.

The government is looking for someone with “a thorough understanding of the economic environment and issues facing small business which may include deregulation, taxation, business finance, franchising and competition policy and dispute resolution”.

The commissioner must have “excellent interpersonal and communication skills” alongside “proven leadership ability and sound judgement, integrity and wisdom”.

It also wants the commissioner to have “knowledge of the workings of government” alongside “the capacity to provide advice to government on small business issues”.

The advertisement doesn’t give much away on what the job actually pays, just stating that there is “an attractive remuneration package”, although we know that the government does have $8.3 million to spend over four years.

The role will start on January 2, 2013 and is for three-and-a-half years finishing on June 30, 2016.

Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of the Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany the wording of the job advertisement concerned him.

“COSBOA’s position is the small business commissioner has to be appointed outside the public sector, it must be an independent position,” says Strong.

“Our preference is to an appointment made by the Governor-General.

“If the position ends up in the public service it will fail; the wording of the ad worries me as it sounds like it will be another public service decision.

“If it is an appointment by the public service, we will end up with a public servant. We want someone to assess the performance of the public service and report to Parliament; to do that they must be independent.”


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