Small business boost to the ACCC

Small business will receive a major boost with Professor Michael Schaper announced as the new deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Small business will receive a major boost with Professor Michael Schaper announced as the new deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

At present there is only one deputy chair position, which is filled by Louise Sylvan, former chief executive of the Australian Consumers’ Association.

The appointment, forecast by SmartCompany two weeks ago, creates two chairs and is for five years.

The Rudd Government also intends to recommend to the Governor-General the re-appointment of Graeme Samuel as ACCC chairperson for three years. A statement from teh Government says Samuel has “provided strong leadership for the ACCC, at a time when its role in promoting competition and advancing the interests of consumers is as important as it ever has been”.

Peter Kell, current chief executive of Choice (formerly the ACA), will replace Sylvan as the other deputy commissioner, focused on consumers.

It is a smart move by the Federal Government, which has come under increasing attack by small business after more than $1 billion of cuts from small business programs and a perceived indifference to the affect of rising petrol costs and harsher economic conditions.

Schaper, who is currently the dean of the Business School at Murdoch University in WA, is viewed as an educator over an enforcer, which might disappoint parts of the small business community seeking a more aggressive approach to big business bullies (see Feedback, June 27).

Schaper has Labor party connections. He was ministerial adviser to John Dawkins in the Hawke government. He also held the position as small business commissioner for the ACT, but that position was under-funded and then scrapped. Victoria is the only state government to have a position of small business commissioner.

The government is recommending that Sylvan be appointed as a commissioner at the Productivity Commission.

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