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14 February 2018

One-stop-shop for dispute resolution welcomed by Ombudsman

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) welcomes the passing of legislation to establish the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) today.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said she is particularly pleased with the more flexible definition of a small business as fewer than 100 employees and a rise in the compensation cap for agricultural small business of up to $2 million.

“And is good to see that a small business will be able to seek resolution of a dispute where the credit facility is up to $5 million and potentially receive compensation of up to $1 million,” Ms Carnell said.

“Small businesses do not have the time or the money to hire lawyers and challenge banks and other financial institutions through the court system.

“This will significantly improve small businesses access to justice, which we raised in our Small Business Loans Inquiry last year.

“The AFCA one-stop-shop will be free, fast and binding, and will provide the forum where the needs of small business are understood, which we hope will significantly reduce the need for litigation.

“We look forward to when AFCA will open its doors later this year.”