In August 2015, the Senate passed legislation to establish an Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) to ensure that small businesses have an easy access point for advice regarding avoiding and managing disputes.
Kate Carnell was appointed as the inaugural small business ombudsman in February 2016 and commenced the role on 11 March for a term of five years.
Now, one year later, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack has announced the first independent review of the ASBFEO as part of his requirement to instigate an independent review of the Ombudsman's assistance function at least every four years under the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Act 2015.
“The review will look at how effectively and efficiently the Ombudsman has undertaken the role of providing assistance and advocacy for Australian small businesses,” Mr McCormack said.
“Supporting small and family-owned businesses through advocacy and support is a central part of this plan, and a year on from the Ombudsman's creation, this process will help ensure that support is targeted in the right places.”
The review team will be chaired by a lead reviewer, Su McCluskey, assisted by a secretariat, and is required to be completed by no later than 30 June 2017.
A consultation period from 15 March to 12 April 2017 will see Ms McCluskey consult with government agencies, businesses and the community.
“Su was a member of the Harper Competition Review Panel and has extensive experience in small business policy, as well as being a small business person and a farmer herself,” Mr McCormack said.
“I am confident her review will ensure support and advocacy for small businesses and family-owned enterprises, which will continue well into the future.”