FOS recently made a submission to the exposure draft of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bill 2015 (the Bill).
FOS welcomes the initiative to assist and support small businesses and believes it will make a valuable contribution through its advocacy and dispute resolution concierge roles. FOS agrees that the role of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman should complement, rather than duplicate or impede, current dispute resolution arrangements for small business.
We suggested some changes to the Bill to ensure this is achieved, particularly in the key areas relating to the roles and jurisdiction of Industry Ombudsman Schemes. The proposed amendments will enable the effective transfer of disputes to FOS and other Industry Ombudsman Schemes.
We also suggest changes to ensure that the Ombudsman does not re-open or act as an Appeal mechanism for a dispute that has already been dealt with by FOS or other Industry Ombudsman Schemes in accordance with their jurisdiction, or duplicate the oversight of FOS by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
FOS retains its concerns about describing the body as an ‘Ombudsman’, given its advocacy role. We have extended our support of ANZOA’s submission on the Bill, which addresses this matter in further detail.
View the complete FOS submission to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bill 2015.