- Current Issues
- Take Action
- Bills Introduced 2012
- Bills debated
- Budget Estimates Hearings
- Committee Reports
- Disallowance Motions
- Guide to Petitions
- How we can help
- Learn About Parliament
- Motions Debated
- Questions on Notice
- Questions without Notice 2009
- Questions without Notice 2010
- Questions without Notice 2011
Small Business and Retail Shop Legislation Amendment Bill 2011
Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL — Thursday, 23 June 2011]
Hon Ljiljanna Ravlich; Hon Max Trenorden; Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Simon O'Brien; Deputy Chairman
SMALL BUSINESS AND RETAIL SHOP LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2011
Resumed from 13 April.
HON LYNN MacLAREN (South Metropolitan) [3.07 pm]: I rise to support the Small Business and Retail
Shop Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. The Greens (WA) support the establishment of the Small Business
Commissioner. This is consistent with remarks I made on the retail trading hours legislation. The principal aims
are obviously good aims; both the previous speakers made note of that. Encouraging the fair treatment of small
business in its commercial dealings with other businesses and with the government is a good thing. Providing
support to small business in the transition to a more deregulated trading environment is essential. Reducing the
vulnerability of small business to unfair market practices is, I think, the pay-off of this deregulated marketplace.
To reduce the frequency and costs of disputes involving small business is a good thing. We support the aims
stated in the bill.
I do note, however, the concerns of the previous speakers on whether the Small Business Commissioner will be
adequately funded to complete the role. We do not know how big that role will be. The requirements of the job
of Small Business Commissioner might be quite significant. I am concerned about that one-off $300 000
funding. However, let us deal with it once we create the position of commissioner and track how it is going.
I do not want to say much more, other than that I received a briefing from the Department of Commerce on this
bill and on other bills that may come to this house. The briefings were very forthcoming and answered many of
the queries that I had. There are a couple of things I want to put on the record. I want to thank the minister for
providing those briefings for me. Also, this is the first time I have received what is known in this place as a blue
bill, which is the marked-up copy of the bill. I love this work. I would like to get that with every bill.
Hon Max Trenorden: It should be standard.
Hon LYNN MacLAREN: Yes, it should be a standard thing.
Hon Simon O’Brien: I will try to do that with every bill.
Hon LYNN MacLAREN: I think it reflected the professionalism of the organisation that it was able to provide
me with this bill in the briefing, so I appreciate that.
I asked about the funding during the briefing. The response was that because the Small Business Commissioner
was going to be located within the SBDC, the outlay required would be minimised. That can be argued but we
need to track that. I know that other members will be raising that issue. I also asked about the offices and where
they would be established. I was concerned about the impact in the regions and whether we would adequately
cover the small businesses in the regions if we just centralised the service. One of the concerns I had was that the
SBDC shrank from five officers to one officer in the Wheatbelt.
Hon Max Trenorden: That was a great disaster.
Hon LYNN MacLAREN: It was a big concern, and I am sure it is making it even tougher for people in the
regions. I was advised that the same services are offered to the regions and they will be separately funded. It
would be good to get the detail on whether that separate funding has come through in this budget and where that
is. I was advised that mediators would be travelling the regions to help small businesses in the regions. It would
be very handy if the minister could give me some more detail about how that will be accommodated.
I do not really have any other concerns with this bill. It is the end of a long sitting. I think the information that
has been provided to me has answered many of my queries on establishing the Small Business Commissioner
within the Small Business Development Corporation. The government is doing a good thing and an essential
thing by creating this position. The deregulation of retail trading hours means that it will be a tough environment
out there, and small businesses will need all the help they can get to be competitive in that environment. The
very least we can offer is a free service, mediation and access to the State Administrative Tribunal for those
small businesses. With those remarks, I support the bill.