The Government has committed to transform the Australian Small Business Commissioner into a Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (the Ombudsman) to be a Commonwealth-wide advocate for smaller enterprises. Funding of $6 million has been committed to implement this initiative.
The Government has outlined the key responsibilities of the Ombudsman to be a:
- concierge for dispute resolution;
- Commonwealth-wide advocate for small businesses and family enterprises;
- contributor to the development of small business friendly Commonwealth laws and regulations; and
- single entry-point agency through which Commonwealth assistance and information regarding small business can be accessed.
The Treasury is seeking input on the nature and scope of the four key responsibilities of the Ombudsman role and how to best provide the Ombudsman with appropriate powers to deliver benefits to Australian small businesses. The discussion paper includes options for the scope of the Ombudsman’s functions and powers, and seeks to identify possible areas of duplication, gaps or alignment with services and functions that are delivered through other governments, industry bodies or private providers.