From the Commissioner
As 2016 draws to a close, we’re ending on a high note for small business in Western Australia.
This year’s achievements have not only drawn attention to the importance of small business to our economy and the way we live, they’ve helped to create a more efficient and effective small business environment.
The extension of Australian Consumer Law (ACL) protections to cover small businesses entering into contracts, is one of the most important initiatives we have seen in some time. These changes will help level the playing field between large and small businesses and make contracts fairer overall. We recently hosted a presentation from Dr Michael Schaper, Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, on the finer points of the Unfair Contract Term changes.
We also hosted a meeting of the three small business commissioners from Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, along with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO), Ms Kate Carnell. As a joint project, Ms Carnell has launched an inquiry into ‘Payment times and practices’ to identify trends around late payments to smaller businesses by larger businesses and government.
On a similar subject, changes to the Construction Contracts Act 2004 passed through State Parliament and should improve access for subcontractors to resolve payment disputes.
Our Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative is also going well, with 11 local governments now signed on to support their local small business communities. The total number of small businesses across the State benefiting from this extra support is now estimated to be almost 40,000, which is over 18 per cent of all small businesses in the State.
Overall, we are seeing governments at all levels, now focussing on small businesses to ensure they are given a ‘fair go’.
As we head into the Christmas break, I wish you a happy and safe holiday and a prosperous new year. If you would like further information about any of the matters covered, please contact us on 13 12 49.
Our office will be closed during the Christmas break from 24 December 2016 until 3 January 2017, but information is available on our website.
Small Business Commissioner