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23 April 2020

Ombudsman welcomes new QLD Small Business Commissioner role

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision to appoint a temporary Small Business Commissioner.

The new role, to be initially taken up by the current Queensland Small Business Champion Maree Adshead, will give small businesses a single point of contact for commercial leasing disputes, many of which have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Maree has done fantastic work as the Queensland Small Business Champion and she’s certainly the right person for this important job,” Ms Carnell says.

“Many small businesses are reaching out for assistance with disputes over commercial lease arrangements because of the financial hardship they are experiencing during this difficult time.

“By creating this role, small businesses in Queensland will have the support they need to negotiate a fair outcome with their landlord, under the guidance of the Mandatory Commercial Tenancy Code of Conduct.

“It’s vital, especially in this time of crisis, there is a full-time small business commissioner with the necessary powers to meet the needs of small businesses.

“Alternative dispute resolution is far more cost-effective, time and resource-saving for small businesses than the court system, so I would encourage Queensland small businesses to access these free services if they need to.

“While this Small Business Commissioner role is only temporarily in place for the remainder of the year, my office believes there is good reason to make this an ongoing service to the small business community in Queensland.

“In the meantime, we congratulate Maree Adshead on taking this role in the interim.”