Small Business Commissioner Act 2013 (NSW)

ON 18 SEPTEMBER 2013, the Small Business Commissioner Act 2013 (NSW) commenced.

The Act creates the office of the Small Business Commissioner and provides for the objectives and functions of that office.

The objectives of the office of the Small Business Commissioner are defined in s13 as:

“(a) to deal with issues concerning the small business sector in a neutral and independent manner,
(b) to provide a central point of contact for small businesses to make complaints about their commercial dealings with other businesses and about their dealings with government agencies,
(c) to encourage government agencies and larger businesses to enter into productive working relationships with small businesses,
(d) to facilitate the resolution of disputes involving small businesses through mediation and other appropriate forms of alternative dispute resolution,
(e) to facilitate and encourage the fair treatment of small businesses,
(f) to promote a fair operating environment in which small businesses can flourish,
(g) to identify and support measures to reduce the administrative burden for small businesses.”

The general functions of the office of the Small Business Commissioner are defined is s14(1) as:

“(a) to receive and deal with, subject to section 15, complaints made by or on behalf of small businesses (either on an individual or collective basis) regarding their dealings with other businesses and government agencies,
(b) to investigate complaints that are dealt with by the Commissioner or to refer any such complaint to such other person or body as the Commissioner considers appropriate,
(c) to provide low cost alternative dispute resolution services for small businesses,
(d) to make representations or take any action on behalf of small businesses (including making applications to be joined as a party in proceedings involving a small business) either at the Commissioner’s own initiative or at the request of a small business,(e) to conduct investigations into the way in which small businesses are treated by other businesses or government agencies,
(f) to facilitate the development of codes of practice by industry that deal with issues concerning the small business sector,
(g) to advise the Minister, either at the Commissioner’s own initiative or at the request of the Minister, on any matter affecting small businesses or that is relevant to the Commissioner objectives or functions.”

Lawyers 1300 00 2088