26 September 2023

Small Business Commissioner becomes big job

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Queensland’s Small Business Commissioner has become a permanent Government position to support Queensland’s 448,000 small businesses.

Announced by the Minister for Employment and Small Business, Di Farmer the permanent appointment will allow the Small Business Commissioner to continue providing small businesses with ready access to support, information and advice, and reduce the time and costs associated with resolving disputes.

“The Small Business Commissioner and team advocates for small business at all levels of Government, provides assistance for small business disputes, offers a low-cost mediation service for retail shop lease disputes under the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994, and resolves franchise disputes,” Di Farmer said.

“We know that saving time and money is key for small businesses.”

Ms Farmer said establishing the position and office of Small Business Commissioner was one of several actions the Government took as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold as a way to assist small business owners, including in relation to issues with their retail leases.

“Commissioner Maree Adshead was temporarily appointed as Commissioner during the COVID-19 pandemic, and she and her team have provided a very valuable service over the past two years,” Ms Farmer said.

“Following the passing of the Small Business Commissioner Act 2022 in March, the position and office of Small Business Commissioner become permanent from today (3 May).

“Ms Adshead and her office have been a voice for small businesses across Queensland, helping small business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as leading engagement with government at all levels to champion Queensland small business needs and issues,” Ms Farmer said.

“Since May 2020 the temporary Commissioner’s office has carried out more than 7,000 activities to assist small businesses, commercial tenants, and landlords, received more than 5,000 enquiries, been in receipt of more than 1,000 disputes, performed more than 600 outreach activities, and advocated on behalf of small business in more than 200 matters.”

She said the Commissioner had demonstrated the need for a dedicated Government access point for small business support and the result is a permanent appointment to ensure businesses continue to receive this high-quality support and advice.

Ms Adshead (pictured) welcomed the decision for the Commission to become permananet, saying it had been satisfying to advocate for, support and provide a voice for small business of Queensland.

“I am proud of the work my team has done to support many small business tenants and landlords who have accessed our free mediation service and dispute resolution assistance,” Ms Adshead said.

“We have been able to resolve 66 per cent of the commercial lease disputes received by my office, which I believe has gone a long way towards relieving the financial stress and improving the mental health of our small businesses.”

Ms Farmer said small businesses made up more than 90 per cent of all businesses in Queensland.

“I look forward to hearing more success stories from the Commissioner and from small business owners as they continue to work together,” she said.

The Minister said a national recruitment process for a permanent appointment to the position of Small Business Commissioner is to commence shortly.

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