David Eaton became Western Australia’s first Small Business Commissioner and CEO of the Small Business Development Corporation in January 2012.
In this dual role the Commissioner is dedicated to:
- providing access to information and practical support for small businesses;
- providing assistance to resolve business to business disputes;
- investigating complaints about unfair market practices;
- advocating to all levels of government, in their role as regulators; and
- providing advice to the WA Minister for Small Business
One of the main functions of the Commissioner is to oversee an alternative dispute resolution service for small business. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service provides a low-cost method to resolve business-to-business and business-to-government disputes, avoiding court action and preserving business relationships.
The Commissioner is responsible for advocating for the fair treatment of small business by assisting public sector bodies to consider the impact of legislation and policies (red tape) on the sector with a particular focus on reducing the burden of compliance. The Commissioner can investigate and report to the Minister on the behaviour of public sector bodies that adversely affect small business.
The Western Australian Small Business Commissioner is a founding member of the national forum of Small Business Commissioners along with his peers from South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, as well as the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman based in Canberra.
The position of Small Business Commissioner was established by the Western Australian Parliament, through amendments to the Small Business Development Corporation Act 1983, the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 and the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004. These amendments passed during 2010-11.