The NSW Parliament yesterday passed a Small Business Commissioner Bill 2013 which promises stronger support and a more level playing field for small businesses by offering an independent statutory officer who can investigate allegations of unfair treatment and contract terms.
The goal is to ensure government and large businesses are accountable in instances where their practices impact unfairly on small businesses.
Under the legislation, the Commissioner will also be able to investigate allegations from a neutral and independent manner, with the ability to report directly to Parliament where there is an issue of real importance to small business.
The Commissioner will also be able to request the attendance of parties in a dispute to mediation prior to initiating a legal process, with penalties imposed on those which do not adhere.
In addition, he or she can require local councils, State Government bodies and businesses to provide information or answers if a complaint is acted upon.
Reacting to WorkCover
The NSW Government has made some WorkCover changes which promise to reduce average workers compensation premiums by 7.5 per cent.
The key change is around employers which have basic premium between $10,001 and $30,000; WorkCover has reclassified these parties from a medium to small business employer.
As a result, these businesses will have access to the regular small business employer safety incentives, return to work incentives, renewal, and early payment premiums.