The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) has received its 20,000 application for assistance since its commencement in 2003.
Victorian Small Business Commissioner Judy O’Connell said reaching the milestone of 20,000 applications was testament to the role of the VSBC in helping to resolve issues between businesses through mediation. “I would love it if no one needed to submit an application for help, but we know that disputes can and do arise, so having an independent office that can assist small businesses is crucial,” Ms O’Connell said.
In 2016-17, just over 1870 applications were referred to the VSBC, 683 went through mediation and 80% of the completed mediations successfully resolved the dispute.
“We keep small businesses out of the court system. Mediation is a quick, low-cost and effective process—so all parties can get on with the job of running their business,” she said.
Top categories of disputes lodged with the VSBC in 2016-17 related to: contractual disputes, unpaid monies, money owned by tenants in retail leases, repair and maintenance of retail premises and quality of goods and services provided. The number one reason for disputes is small businesses not understanding their contract, especially the fine print.
The VSBC recently released its 2016-17 Annual Report which shows a 4.6 per cent increase in the number of disputes referred to the VSBC during the year.
“The important message right now to Victorian small businesses is that they are not alone and there is assistance available if they need it,” Ms O’Connell said.