13 November 2017
Media Release - #2017142, 2017

Delivered: 12 months of unfair contract term protections for small business

A YEAR ON small businesses no longer have to "take it or leave it" when negotiating contracts with big business thanks to the Coalition Government's continued support for small business, Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack says.

"Small businesses are often disadvantaged when it comes to contract negotiations which is why the Coalition Government delivered on its promise to level the playing field," Mr McCormack said.

"When you run a small business you are often the accountant, the banker, the receptionist, the diary manager and the IT helpdesk, and do not have the resources of your big businesses counterparts.

"By extending unfair contract term provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to small business, the Government has made often complex contract negotiations fair."

Mr McCormack said the law applies to new or varied standard form small business contracts entered into or renewed on or after 12 November 2016.

"If a small business thinks a contract term is unfair, it should ask the other party to the contract to amend or remove the unfair term," Mr McCormack said.

"If the term is not removed or altered, I strongly encourage the small business to report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or seek assistance from their state Small Business Commissioner or the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

"Contracts covered include those between businesses where one of the businesses employs less than 20 people and the contract is worth up to $300,000 in a single year or $1 million if the contract runs for more than a year.

"The laws protect small businesses which on average sign eight standard form contracts a year and complement the Government's changes to Section 46 of the Act which create a level playing field and greater protections to balance the small business to big business market relationship."

For more information on unfair contract term provisions for small business, please visit the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's website.