MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO – 30 June 2017

MEETING WITH MINISTER: On Tuesday 27.6.17 members of CoSBA’s Executive met with the new Minister for Small Business, Paul Papalia at Parliament House. In the convivial meeting the Minister outlined the Government’s plans for small business.

CARNELL ASBFEO: In The Weekend Australian, June 24, 2017 report ‘Ombudsman Kate Carnell into bat for the little guyGlenda Korporaal asks Kate Carnell: “What is the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman? What do you do?” She responded: “We provide small businesses and family enterprises with assistance if they find themselves involved in a dispute. We also provide a voice to ensure the concerns and ideas of small business people are heard by politicians at all levels so that beneficial policies and regulations are put in place.”

After eight years of systematically stripping the WA Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) of services and support for small business and as a Government for the “big end” of town ignored the significance of small business being the “engine room” of State’s economy. One notable exception being the continuance of the former Labor Government’s initiative with the establishment of the office of the WA Small Business Commissioner.

Conversely, at the same time the Federal Government was headed in the opposite direction, in recognition that small business is the “engine room” of the economy providing support for small business with many initiatives, principal among them was the establishment of the office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) and subsequently appointing Kate Carnell as the Ombudsman.

We look forward to the WA Government elevating the status of small business and also restoring the role and function of the SBDC to that which they were prior to the Barnett Government. We would also prevail upon the Government to upgrade the role and function of the office of the WA Small Business Commissioner to that commensurate with the office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

THE ALBATROSS: The Australian, June 26, 2017 reports: ‘Fair Work an albatross around the neck of business, says IPA’: The industrial umpire is overwhelmed by unfair dismissal claims, as a conservative think tank claims the Fair Work Act has become an “albatross around the neck” of small-business owners, with about 80 per cent of cases involving “go-away money”.” (Copied below)

In a separate article reported by SmartCompany, June 22, 2017: ‘Fair Work Ombudsman announces audits of 250 businesses in Sydney and Melbourne to fight worker exploitation’ (Copied below) “Carnell says while the “vast majority” of businesses are wanting to do the right thing, the complexity of the Fair Work Act and awards system results in “lots of bureaucracy” in the space, and is calling for simplification and safe-harbour provisions for SMEs.”

Having been a practicing Industrial Relations Advocate for over 35 years, mainly representing small business, I can certainly relate to this situation. It is cheaper and much less traumatic for small businesses to pay “go away” money.  And, a lot of justifiably dismissed employees know that and milk the system, many on the advice of lawyers. And, it is well established that so called “Fair Work” is an albatross around the neck of small business.