MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

This week there were reports on the the highly visible role the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell is taking on significant issues that effect small business, such as, SmartCompany reports: the Australian Tax Office saying it “will take “timely” and “stronger action” against small businesses with outstanding debts in an effort to reduce the number of businesses trading while insolvent. Kate Carnell told SmartCompany the ATO acting on insolvent trading earlier is potentially a good move, but says the approach should be “all about balance.”

“I think it’s a good thing for the ATO to encourage small businesses to take action early, but the ATO has to be careful,” Carnell says. “If this is about helping small businesses to get in contact with the ATO regarding problems with debt, then it’s a good thing. On the other hand, they shouldn’t be too heavy handed for businesses who are doing it tough.” Carnell thinks that the ATO should be “flexible and reasonable” when it comes to following up debts, saying, “everyone has to pay the tax they owe, big or small”.

And in The Australian, August 24, she backs the proposed banking tribunal. The report states:A royal commission into the banking sector would not help businesses struggling with banking disputes, small business ombudsman Kate Carnell says, as she urges “immediate action” from government to prevent a stifling effect on economic growth.nd in The Australian, August 24, she backs the proposed banking tribunal. The report states: “A royal commission into the banking sector would not help businesses struggling with banking disputes, small business ombudsman Kate Carnell says, as she urges “immediate action” from government to prevent a stifling effect on economic growthAmid a political debate over how best to respond to community concerns about the sector, the former head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says bank-related complaints are a key concern of small businesses, many of whom struggle with revaluations of businesses and the impairment of loans.

Arguing in favour of a tribunal that involves the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, as advocated by Coalition backbenchers, Ms Carnell said government intervention was needed to resolve disputes. “We are very happy to be a part of any solution,” she said.”

These are very encouraging early signs of the willingness of the Ombudsman to be vocal and highly visible on issues that affect the needs and aspirations of small business, what is now needed is the visible support of the Minister and the Government in backing her on these important issues. We live in hope that we will not be disappointed.

We are encouraged that, as reported: “Malcolm Turnbull has indicated support for a tribunal that could hear from individuals and small business operators, to deal with banking disputes.”

In support of the Ombudsman call for “immediate action” we would also advocate for the early establishment of the tribunal, which would be most welcomed by small business.

Additionally, in the spirit of bi-partisanship and a demonstration of support for small business we seek the cooperation of Labor in facilitating the early establishment of the tribunal.