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The FCA's submission on the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Written on the 9 April 2015 by Franchise Council of Australia

The Franchise Council of Australia has made a submission on the exposure draft legislation to establish the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (the "Ombudsman").

Key points from the FCA's submission on the Ombudsman's advocacy function

The FCA supports the proposal for the Ombudsman to represent small business interests and concerns to the Australian Government, including participating on government advisory bodies and working with industry and Commonwealth, state and territory governments to advise on how government policies and practices impact small business.

The FCA supports the introduction of legislative powers where no such powers are already available within existing Government Agencies or Authorities.

Key points from the FCA's submission on the Ombudsman's assistance function

The FCA supports all initiatives to improve dispute resolution through improved communication and tools such as mediation have been shown to be a very effective method of dispute resolution within the Franchising sector.

The FCA supports the Ombudsman providing services including:

  • Providing an information and referral service to existing dispute resolution providers;
  • Forwarding complaints to other Commonwealth agencies and regulators (including but not limited to the ACCC and ASIC) where those agencies are better placed to address a complaint.
  • Compelling parties to attend mediation before approaching a tribunal or court; and
  • Publicising non-attendance or refusal of a company to participate in the mediation process.

The need for checks and balances

The FCA would encourage the appointment of a nominated person or body to monitor the Ombudsman's office.

Author: Franchise Council of Australia

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