A year on from the creation of the office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) by the Turnbull-Joyce Government, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack today announced its first independent review.
"The review will look at how effectively and efficiently the Ombudsman has undertaken the role of providing assistance and advocacy for Australian small businesses," Mr McCormack said.
"I am determined to see Australia's 2.1 million small businesses grow, invest and hire more people. Supporting small and family-owned businesses through advocacy and support is a central part of this plan, and a year on from the Ombudsman's creation, this process will help ensure that support is targeted in the right places."
Under the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Act 2015, the Minister for Small Business is required to instigate an independent review of the Ombudsman's assistance function at least every four years.
The Office of the Ombudsman began operation on 11 March 2016 and was established with advocacy and assistance functions, underpinned by statutory powers. The first review is required to be completed by no later than 30 June 2017.
The review team will be chaired by a lead reviewer, Ms Su McCluskey, assisted by a secretariat. Ms McCluskey's current roles include Chairperson of Energy Renaissance, a Director of Australian Unity and a Director of the Foundation for Young Australians, and she is a former CEO of the Regional Australia Institute. She is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration and is on the New South Wales Regulatory Policy Review Panel.
"Su was a member of the Harper Competition Review Panel and has extensive experience in small business policy, as well as being a small business person and a farmer herself," Mr McCormack said.
"I have worked with Su on many projects and goals – especially during her time at the Regional Australia Institute – and am confident her review will ensure support and advocacy for small businesses and family-owned enterprises will continue well into the future."
The review will consult with Government agencies, businesses and the community during a consultation period from 15 March to 12 April 2017. A short discussion paper will be released on the Treasury's website seeking public submissions.
Information about the review, its terms of reference and consultation process will be available from a dedicated webpage on the Treasury website.
Public submissions are invited for the review. The email address for lodging submissions is: SBOmbudsmanReview@treasury.gov.au.