On the 2nd of May, 2013, the New South Wales Parliament passed a Law called the Small Business Commissioner Bill. The Small Business Commissioner will be a person to whom “Small Business” can make a complaint in regard to business dealings they are having. The Commissioner will be able then to take action including:-
- Require the parties to the dispute including local Councils or State Government bodies, to attend Mediation. If someone fails to attend the Mediation the Commissioner can impose a fine on them.
- The Commissioner can enforce a thirty (30) day payment arrangement on State Government bodies so that if a Small Business has provided a proper invoice then if the Government body doesn’t pay within thirty (30) days penalty interest can be imposed on the Government body for late payment.
- The parties will not be able to commence Court proceedings, if a complaint has been made to the Commissioner, until the Commissioner certifies that Mediation has occurred.
For Small Businesses, this may be a useful weapon either to force the other party to come to the Mediation table or to prevent the other party from taking you to Court until they have done so. The thirty (30) day payment rule will also be helpful for anybody who has Contracts with Government bodies.