New South Wales’ Small Business Commissioner Yasmin King has taken on the government-appointed position to provide small business employers and employees with a contact when mediating through problems with competing Goliaths.
Small Business Minister, Katrina Hodgkinson, said: “Ms King will ensure small businesses can easily access mediation and advocacy services, reducing the need for expensive litigation.”
By making contacts with seniors in different industry sectors so that problems can be escalated to the highest authority, Ms King has been the go-to person for small businesses since August.
“Many businesses don’t know where to go to get someone to help them navigate through government legislation,” Ms King said.
“If they’re in a dispute, we can see if we can mediate a discussion instead of going through a lengthy and costly legal process. We’re the problem solvers and also get involved in policy debates.”
One major problem concerning small businesses at the moment is WorkCover reforms.
The WorkCover Authority of New South Wales is a government body that deals with the safety of employees by ensuring employers have the correct insurance in place to cover them.
“My concern is that if we keep the current scheme, the cost of premiums will go up. If that happens, there will be no jobs. Businesses won’t employ people because it will be too expensive,” Ms King said.
Other issues with the current scheme include the need for differentiating between independent contractors and employees.
“We need policy and regulations that adapt to the world today,” she said.
“Nowadays, people don’t just do the nine-to-five and days off at the weekend system.”
For Brian Adams, from Surry Hills Business Alliance, the introduction of a Small Business Commissioner is not enough.
“These small business advisors and ministers are all hopeless. We can find no help whatsoever from the current bunch and it is because none of them have ever owned a business,” he said.
“It is all spin. Appointing these people costs tax payers money and nothing is ever accomplished.”
Ms King has a background in economics and finance and has run a small business in the past. “I am interested in outcomes and getting results. People can get too caught up in the processes and forget what they are trying to achieve, which is where I come in,” she said.
Small businesses can get in touch with the Commissioner’s office on 1300 795 534, or by visiting www.smallbusiness. nsw.gov.uk
By Punam Vyas