Kate Carnell welcomes Bruce Billson’s appointment as Small Business Ombudsman

Bruce Billson online marketplaces

Source: AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Former small business minister Bruce Billson has been confirmed as the next Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman and will start in the role next week.

Billson will replace the outgoing Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell on Thursday, March 11, and begin a five-year term in the role.

Billson’s appointment marks the end of Carnell’s term as Australia’s inaugural ombudsman. Carnell was appointed to the role in early 2016 and her tenure is scheduled to end next Wednesday.

The office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has congratulated Billson on his new position, describing the former minister as a champion of the small business sector.

“Having played an integral role in the establishment of the Ombudsman’s office, Mr Billson is well positioned to carry the torch,” Carnell said in a statement.

“He is highly regarded by the small business community and I am confident he will be an effective advocate for the sector.”

Billson, who left federal politics at the 2016 election after losing the small business portfolio, was executive chair of the Franchise Council of Australia between 2016 and 2018, before becoming an administrator for the City of Whittlesea in Melbourne.

In a statement, Billson thanked Carnell for her dedication to the small business sector over the past five years, saying she will leave “a lasting legacy”.

“Ms Carnell leaves a lasting legacy, as a fierce advocate for Australian small businesses and a strong foundation to build on,” Billson said.

Billson said his future efforts as ombudsman would be spent helping small businesses make a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ll be focused on ensuring the small business community has the support and confidence they need to survive and thrive well beyond the COVID crisis,” he said.

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