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ASIO Building Dispute Reinforces Need for Federal Small Business Commissioner with Real Power

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 12 Mar 2013


The ongoing dispute between ASIO and a number of small building firms to the tune of $6m is further evidence of the need for a Federal Small Business Commissioner with real authority.

Australian Greens Small Business spokesperson Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the dispute focussing on ASIO’s new Canberra offices was a prime example of the institutional imbalance many small businesses faced when dealing with government departments.

“The Small Business Commissioner should immediately investigate these allegations and organise to mediate between the two parties.

“At present the Commissioner lacks the legal power to compel the production of documents or to compel mediation between parties.

“The Australian Greens have been seeking to provide the Commissioner with additional powers through the introduction of the Small Business Commissioner Bill 2013 to provide them with exactly the kind of powers required to intervene in this kind of dispute.

“The Australian Greens are of the view it’s essential to have a Federal Small Business Commissioner underpinned by legislation to act as an honest broker between small businesses and government agencies.

“As part of this process we are encouraging all relevant stakeholders to make a submission to the forthcoming inquiry into the Small Business Commissioner Bill 2013. Copies of the bill and the explanatory memorandum can be found through the inquiry website link below.”



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