New small business ombudsman announced

13th March 2015

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Running a business day-to-day can be a stressful undertaking, even with the range of productivity and accounting software solutions that small businesses have access to. What's more, enterprises will also need to prepare for uncertainties like disputes with other companies that can damage both reputations and bottom lines.

The federal government has revealed details of draft legislation that will establish the position of a small business ombudsman, specifically designed to make it easier for small businesses to resolve issues.

The legislation will create the new position of Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. The ombudsman will have the power to compel businesses to attend mediation in order to resolve their differences. 

As well as providing as a dispute resolution service, the ombudsman will also act as an advocate for small business interests across the country, as well as providing input on legislation that affects the SME sector.

This was echoed by Small Business Minister Bruce Billson, who highlighted the benefits that would come with this position for those involved in the dispute process.

"This role recognises that when small businesses have a legal dispute with a big business, they often end up worse off. The legal process is often slow and costly, and can do a lot of harm to small businesses," said Mr Billson, in an exclusive with SmartCompany.

Currently, the draft legislation is at the consultation stage, giving interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed legislation in its current form.

While these supports are still some months away, they highlight the growing number of tools that small businesses can rely on when a dispute arises with another organisation. By understanding the correct approach to take with these issues, businesses will be able to overcome such obstacles while avoiding any negative impact on their bottom line.