Australia's more than 2.7 million small business owners will have a stronger voice with governments with the inaugural Australian Small Business Commissioner, Mark Brennan, starting work today.
"Mr Brennan's appointment shows that the Gillard Government is listening and responding to small business, particularly requests for better advocacy, assistance and information at the Federal level," Small Business Minister Brendan O'Connor said.
"Mr Brennan will work closely with the small business community to give them a new voice to highlight the issues that are important to small business people across the country.
"Australia's more than 2.7 million small businesses are vital to our economy and it is essential that they are able to express their concerns and to have them addressed.
"Not only does Mr Brennan have a vast amount of experience and knowledge, he also understands that the Government needs frank and objective advice and the small business community needs strong advocates.
"An important part of the role will be working collaboratively across all levels of government to ensure services for small businesses are simple and easy to access.
"The creation of the Australian Small Business Commissioner is another example of how how the Gillard Government is creating the environment in which small businesses not only survive, they thrive."
The Commissioner highlights the importance of small business owners being able to access information, assistance and referral to services including business advisory and dispute resolution services.
"I see the role as being an advocate for small business. And not just advocating to governments, but to business about what they can do to improve the business environment. No small business should fail through lack of information," Mr Brennan said.
"It is important that we let small businesses know that there are effective and low-cost dispute resolution services available should they need them.
"If we see small businesses and big business working together, you'll find the incidence of things like disputes will decrease."
A dedicated website and Australian Small Business Commissioner Information Line has been established to assist small businesses access information, including dispute resolution services, in their state or territory.
Small businesses can call 9am - 5pm (AEST) Monday to Friday and speak directly with a highly trained small business agent.
Mr Brennan is uniquely qualified for the role, having served for seven years as the inaugural Victorian Small Business Commissioner. He was also named the Council of Small Business of Australia's (COSBOA) National Small Business Champion for 2011 for his work in guiding and developing the role of Small Business Commissioner in Victoria.
People wanting to raise an issue with Mr Brennan can visit www.asbc.gov.au or call the Australian Small Business Commissioner Information Line on 1300 650 460.
A brief biography of Mark Brennan is available.
Media contacts: Minister's office 02 6277 7667