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 practices impacting small businesses;
- advocating to all levels of government for policies and regulation which supports the establishment and growth of small businesses; and
- offering advice to the WA Minister for Small Business
One of the main functions of the Commissioner oversees a dispute resolution service. This is a low-cost way to resolve business-to-business and business-to-government disputes, avoiding court action and preserving business relationships.
Under the Small Business Development Corporation Amendment Bill 2019 the Commissioner was given additional authority to investigate complaints of non-payment and poor practice, particularly in the construction industry. He can also examine matters identified through data analysis or insights gained from other government agencies.
The Commissioner is also 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 small business sector with a particular focus on reducing the burden of unnecessary compliance processes. The WA Small Business Commissioner is a founding member of the national forum of Small Business Commissioners along with his peers from South Australia, Victoria, Queensland 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 the Small Business Development Corporation Act 1983.