States’ small business commissioners join forces – but Federal role still lacking

Australia’s small business commissioners have agreed to share information about the issues facing SMBs, but a small business lobbyist says a Federal commissioner is still needed.


According to Yasmin King, the newly-appointed NSW Small Business Commissioner, the agreement was signed at the first meeting between the commissioners last week.


In addition to NSW, there are small business commissioners in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and WA. The meetings will rotate around jurisdictions on a bi-monthly basis.


An agreement has also been signed with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, with the aim of sharing information across the states about challenges facing small businesses.


“In addition to giving small business operators a voice, we’re focused on delivering results that make a real difference to the vital small business sector… across Australia,” King said this week.


King said the goal of these meetings for NSW is to drive a number of initiatives for small businesses in the state, including the provision of mediation services.


This would benefit small businesses in their dealings with landlords, other businesses and government, providing an environment “where they can thrive, rather than just survive”.


“Anything we can do to improve conditions for our small business operators will obviously have a significant impact,” King said.


Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, supports the notion of the state commissioners working together for the benefit of small businesses.


“There are some differences in the way each state approaches things, so we can starting working out what works best and what doesn’t, and what’s better,” Strong says.


But Strong says increased collaboration between the state small business commissioners cannot replace the role of a Federal commissioner, calling on the government to create such a role.


“State [small business commissioners] deal with state issues and have direct access to the market. A national person would do something different,” Strong says.


“To have a national person working with the others is quite essential… We have no one at that level.”


“They would not take away from the role of the state commissioners or have more power than them.” 


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