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Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development The Hono

Commissioner to help Queensland small business recover

A Queensland Small Business Commissioner will be appointed to give small businesses a single point of contact for leasing disputes during recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman said the new Small Business Commissioner will be appointed until the end of 2020 to provide much-needed dispute resolution support during this crucial time.

“Our thousands of small businesses are struggling due to the COVID-19 crisis, and now more than ever they need assistance,” Ms Fentiman said.

“We know that dispute resolution can come at a significant cost for small business owners in terms of legal services, time away from their business, lost productivity and income, as well as additional expenses and stress.”

“The Commissioners role will meet the needs of small business and provide them with valuable advice and assistance in relation to resolving disputes.

“Establishing a single point of contact for small businesses handling leasing disputes will result in time, money and resource savings for business owners and government.”

Introducing a Small Business Commissioner will bring us in line with every other state and their role will assist with Queensland’s implementation of the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct - SME Leasing Principles during COVID-19.

Key groups seeking the change included the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland.

The Minister said the current part-time Small Business Champion Maree Adshead had done a wonderful job since 2017, promoting and protecting the sector which represents around 97 per cent of all Queensland business and employs more than 970,000 people.

“The appointment of the new commissioner will be made as soon as possible and Ms Adshead will continue in the role in the interim,” Ms Fentiman said.

“During this time of crisis, the recovery of the vital small business sector needs a full-time role with increased powers.

“We know it is likely that the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-term effects on the Queensland economy and the small business community.

“We need to provide the business community with as much support as possible as soon as possible.”

Work on establishing the office of the Queensland Small Business Commissioner will begin immediately after the passing of the legislative amendments.

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