Lynda McAlary-Smith has been appointed as the Victorian Small Business Commissioner.
McAlary-Smith will start in the role on August 30, replacing Mark Schramm, who has been acting Commissioner since the retirement of Judy O’Connell in July.
McAlary-Smith has previously worked in the public service at both federal and state levels, including as acting deputy Fair Work Ombudsman and recently as the executive director of regulatory operations at the Victorian Building Authority.
The role of the Small Business Commissioner is to help the state’s more than 644,000 small businesses resolve disputes, as well as providing advice, advocacy and education to the small business community.
Speaking to SmartCompany, McAlary-Smith said she is excited to “support Victorian small businesses and the incredible people who run them”.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Victorian economy and our communities. We want them to survive and thrive because then our economy and our communities thrive too,” she says.
“It will be my role to ensure that the government continues to hear and understand the challenges and opportunities for small businesses in Victoria.”
Victorian Small Business Minister Jaala Pulford said she is looking forward to working with McAlary-Smith as she leads the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) and “fights for a fair and competitive environment for small business”.
“I thank Ms O’Connell and Mr Schramm, who made outstanding contributions at a time when the Commission’s work has been important to the survival of many Victorian small businesses,” she added.
The VSBC was established in 2003 and was the first of its kind in Australia. Other states have since followed in establishing small business commission, with Queensland this week making the role of Small Business Commissioner permanent.
According to a statement, the VSBC responded to more than 13,200 enquiries in the last financial year, with many coming from small business owners seeking advice related to the COVID-19 pandemic.