26/05/2011 - 00:00

Push to ease business blues

26/05/2011 - 00:00

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FEDERAL Small Business Minister Nick Sherry is asking small business operators to respond to an options paper to identify gaps in the way small businesses resolve disputes with other businesses.

Push to ease business blues

FEDERAL Small Business Minister Nick Sherry is asking small business operators to respond to an options paper to identify gaps in the way small businesses resolve disputes with other businesses.

A survey last year by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research showed that about 20 per cent of small businesses experienced a dispute with another business in the previous five years and that most business owners were unaware of the dispute resolution services available to them.

“Protracted dispute resolution may have serious consequences to cash flow and distract owners from day-to-day business,” Senator Sherry said.

“My aim is to bring about a national business to business disputes resolution process that is accessible, prompt and as low cost as possible for small businesses.”

The options paper asks views on existing services to help with planning an integrated national service.

Options include: a referral service through a telephone hotline and website; a hotline and website followed by mediation services; a tribunal to deal with small business disputes; or a small business advocate within the government to offer independent representation of small business.

“I would judge the new system a success if it is able to keep those disputes which can be dealt with by low-cost and speedy services – out of the courts,” Senator Sherry said.

He said feedback from small businesses would help add to the services of the Small Business Support Line, which was guaranteed another four years of funding from the federal budget last month, and the recently introduced ‘Advisor Finder’.

The government website for business, business.gov.au, offers the Advisor Finder, a referral service that enables small business operators to tailor searches for expertise in their location.

Meanwhile, the state government announced in its budget last week $500,000 in additional funding for Small Business Centres around the state.

The six centres in the Perth metropolitan area and 19 around regional WA provide small business operators with business information, advice and guidance.

A total of $500,000 will be spent this year on the continuation of the Business Migration Program, an initiative to encourage investment in WA, by marketing the economic opportunities of the state and supporting business migrants through the State Sponsorship process.

And $300,000 will be spent to establish a Small Business Commissioner for the state. The new role, created by legislation in March this year, will head the Small Business Development Corporation.

WA Small Business Minister Simon O’Brien said the Commissioner would enhance the competitive and fair operating environment for small business and provide an effective means of resolving business disputes.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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