Date posted: February 2, 2016

The Office of the Australian Small Business Commissioner (ASBC) announced yesterday their official transformation into the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman with Small Business Minister Kelly O’Dwyer appointing Kate Carnell as Australia’s first in the role. This is one of the first examples in the world where ‘Family Enterprise’ has been used in such a title, emphasising an important change in focus.

A pharmacist by profession, Kate Carnell ran her own small businesses for 15 years before becoming ACT Chief Minister and most recently the head of Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman will be responsible for advocating for small and family business, mediating legal disputes and advising the federal government on laws and regulations affecting the sector.

Specifically the role will entail:

  • Commonwealth-wide advocacy for small and family business – listening to businesses and letting the government know their views. Working with business and government to identify national issues that impact on small business.
  • Providing information to small and family business – addressing requests from businesses by providing information, assistance and referral to the right place.
  • Concierge for dispute resolution – helping small and family business to understand their dispute and find the right dispute resolution service.
  • Contributing to small and family business-friendly Commonwealth laws and regulations – giving independent advice to government to make sure small and family business are considered when developing policy and programs

Family Business Australia looks forward to working closely with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman to raise greater awareness of the family business sector and work through the issues presented.

If you have a matter that you are dealing with that you’d like raised, please be in contact with CEO Robin Buckham at or alternatively call 03 9867 5322.