Date posted: April 15, 2016

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell has launched a new and innovative online platform to engage directly with her constituency and hear first-hand the issues facing small businesses in Australia.

Ms Carnell said the launch of the interactive ‘thinkBIGsmallTALK’ platform kick-starts an official and unique consultation process, aimed at shaping the agenda of the new ASBFEO office, at a grass-roots level.

“A critical function of my role is to be an independent voice for small business and family enterprises.  To do this effectively, I need to hear directly from the small business people of Australia, to learn from them what they’d like my office to champion as their advocate,” Ms Carnell said.

“The online platform has been specifically created to enable small business owners – who are typically time poor – to submit their ideas in a streamlined and user-friendly format.  

“The interactive website is a dynamic digital forum that allows users to not only put forward their views and opinions, but to rate the ideas of others and offer practical measures that will positively shape the Australian small business and family enterprise landscape,” she said.

Ms Carnell said asking the public to help shape the ASBFEO agenda marked an exciting and significant departure from the traditional operating models of similar agencies.

“I intend for the work of this office to be as transparent and as robust as possible.  We’re breaking new ground by opening our doors to businesses and asking them what they’d like us to focus on, instead of the other way around,” Ms Carnell said.

A Discussion Paper has also been launched, which Ms Carnell said contains ideas about the kinds of topics the small business community may be interested in raising with the office.

“The Discussion Paper is designed to start a conversation with small business owners and entrepreneurs, and prompt their thinking about the key challenges they’re facing as part of the day-to-day running of their business,” Ms Carnell said.

“Challenges may include problems around red tape or possibly payment terms, which is a growing concern for many small businesses, and one I’m looking at the possibility of conducting an inquiry into,” she said.

Ms Carnell said once the formal consultation period concludes, the office will use the information that’s been gathered to publish an advocacy agenda, which she said will be a blue-print for the forward work plan.

“I also intend to form an advisory committee, bringing in representatives from various industries in the small business and family enterprise sector, to talk through ideas and find solutions to ongoing issues,” Ms Carnell said.

“While the official consultation process finishes on 30 June 2016, our door is always open to hear from small businesses and family enterprises about what more we can be doing to support them,” she said.

If you have any questions or would like to be in contact with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, email the office here. Or contact Kate Carnell directly on 0415 662 266.

The ASBFEO Discussion Paper:
Email the office: