The Small Business Commissioner Bill 2013 was successfully passed by the NSW Parliament, which will mean a more level playing field for 680,000 small businesses in NSW.

Through the NSW Small Business Commissioner, small businesses will now have an independent statutory officer who can investigate allegations of unfair treatment and unfair contract terms. This will ensure that government and big business are accountable in instances where their practices impact unfairly on small businesses.

Under the legislation, the NSW Small Business Commissioner will be able to require parties to a dispute to attend mediation priority to initiating a legal process; investigate allegations of unfair treatment and unfair contract terms; require local councils, state government bodies and businesses to provide information if the Commissioner acts upon a complaint; and report directly to Parliament on an issue of real importance to small businesses.

“The new legislation means a fairer operating environment for small business, and it will now be more difficult for government agencies, local councils and other businesses to dismiss their concerns. Parties that previously thought themselves unaccountable will now have to join the ranks of those who have always done the right thing,” Yasmin King, NSW Small Business Commissioner, said.

The Australian Retailers Association congratulated the NSW Small Business Commissioner on the success of passing the Bill.

The ARA congratulates the NSW Government on their decision that will allow 680,000 small businesses in NSW to have the strongest possible support that has ever been available to them,” ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said.