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On 2 May 2013, NSW Parliament passed the Small Business Commissioner Bill (“the Bill) to formally establish the role of the NSW Small Business Commissioner (“the Commissioner”), a position that has existed since 2011 and is currently filled by Ms Yasmin King.

As set out in the Bill, the objectives of the Commissioner include:

(a) dealing with issues concerning the small business sector in a neutral and independent manner;

(b) facilitating the resolution of disputes involving small businesses;

(c) facilitating and encouraging the fair treatment of small businesses; and

(d) encouraging government agencies (including local councils) and larger businesses to enter into productive working relationships with small businesses.

In pursuit if its objectives, the Commissioner is empowered by the Bill in very broad terms to do any “act or thing that is necessary or convenient” to give effect to the Commissioner’s objectives. This includes conducting investigations into complaints in the way in which small businesses are treated by other businesses and government agencies. To this end, the Commissioner can require local councils to produce information relevant to its dealings with small businesses for the purposes of any investigation by the Commissioner.

To read the Bill for yourself, click here. (link is external)

To speak to one of our specialist local government lawyers about the implications of this bill, call us on 1800 300 308. MatthewsFolbigg Lawyers, Parramatta, are specialist environmental, planning and local government lawyers who are able to advise in relation to all matters relating to planning and local governance.