The Office of the Small Business Commissioner continued its support of the state’s economic engine room, the SME sector in the 2015/16.

Minister for Small Business Martin Hamilton-Smith tabled the latest annual report of the SBC Office this week. The report shows there was a substantial increase in the number of enquiries in the 2015/16 financial year, up 15 per cent to 3134 on the previous year.

South Australian small businesses are critical to the state’s economy, accounting for 98 per cent of businesses in South Australia, employing around 249,000 people and contributing $34 billion.

Background

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner provides dispute resolution services, information and advocacy to the State’s small businesses. Report highlights include:

  • An increase in the number of formal dispute cases dealt with, rising from 116 in 2014/15 to 239 in 2015/16.
  • An increase in regional activity, with visits to Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge, Maitland, Whyalla, Port Augusta, Clare, Tanunda and Berri.
  • The Office held 19 small business information sessions across regional and metro SA, attended by more than 300 small business operators and interested parties.

The Office is also leading reviews and recommendations for the State Government on the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2009 and the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995.

Quotes attributable to Small Business Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner is an important resource to our business community and is designed to help owners navigate their way through disputes without the expense of the court system.

The Office plays an important role in providing information in a wide range of areas and it is interesting to note that the enquiries covering leasing issues outnumbers the general business matters raised with the office.

The latest annual report notes the extensive work undertaken by the Small Business Commissioner in assisting Whyalla business operators who were adversely impacted by the Arrium Administration.

As a Government, we ensured the Small Business Commissioner John Chapman was on the ground working with businesses very early and this has been followed up with regular visits to the region to deal with a range of issues.

The Government’s commitment to support not only the Whyalla businesses but also the wider community has been enhanced with the appointment of retired State Government Chief Executive Paul Case as Regional Co-ordinator.