The Australian Small Business Commissioner will be replaced by a Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, which will act as a “concierge for dispute resolution”.
The federal government has allocated $8 million over four years to establish the ombudsman, with $2 million to be spent each year between 2014 and 2018.
The announcement of funding follows the release of Small Business Ombudsman discussion paper in April, which is currently open to community consultation.
The government said in its budget papers the ombudsman will be a “Commonwealth-wide advocate for smaller enterprises; a single-entry point agency for small business to access Australian Government small business programs and support; a contributor to making Australian Government laws and regulations more small business friendly; and a concierge for dispute resolution”.
Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said “small businesses can find it difficult to navigate the Commonwealth and its numerous departments, which is why we are moving to this single entry-point model”.
“The small business sector hasn’t been forgotten in this budget and by making the right choices today, we create a stronger economy tomorrow with more jobs and a stronger small business sector,” said Billson.
Billson said the ombudsman will also “cut compliance burdens and reduce red-tape, meaning small businesses can get on with the job of attending to their customers”.
Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, previously welcomed the establishment of a Small Business Ombudsman, telling SmartCompany in April he was in favour of an ombudsman with real power to resolve disputes.