Small businesses set to get more protection thanks to new ombudsman

Disputes can soon lead to complex litigation, but there's a new ombudsman service that could help.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) play a big role in the Australian economy. Naturally, when it comes to protecting themselves, it can be easy to get caught short by competitors in the same industry. Fortunately, SMEs across the country will soon have a helping hand thanks to the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

The bill to establish the entity has been working its way through government over the last few months, and it was finally passed at the start of September.

"We want small business owners to spend more of their precious time and resources growing their business, not caught up in disputes or unnecessary paperwork," explained Minister for Small Business Bill Bryson, in a discussion paper assessing the need for the new ombudsman.

Streamlining small business complaints

Until now, those who had recently started a small business in Australia had few options when it came to bringing disputes to the applicable authorities. It was possible, but red tape meant that issues would likely escalate before being properly resolved.

Now, the new ombudsman service will offer a direct, single point of contact if and when any business grievances occur.

The benefits of resolving disputes

A disagreement between a small business owner and a supplier, customer etc may not seem like a big deal, but there are myriad positives in resolving issues as quickly as possible.

In a summary of the benefits associated with the new ombudsman, The Australian Treasury explained that enterprises can avoid expensive litigation, build better relationships and even boost productivity by getting to the root cause of problems as quickly as possible.

Ultimately, many SMEs may find themselves in a position where their growth and business development strategies are put under the spotlight by a variety of issues. Fortunately, the new ombudsman shows that the government is attempting to lend a hand to small business owners struggling with dispute resolution.

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