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Billson takes ASBFEO reins from Carnell

NatRoad calls on new ombudsman to keep strong focus on red tape and late payments


The elevation of former federal small business minister Bruce Billson as the second Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has allowed the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) to reinforce the meaning of his task for small and medium trucking firms.

Billson take over from inaugural ASBFEO Kate Carnell, whose five year term is ending.

NatRoad supports ASBFEO as a champion of the road freight industry within Government.

“With around 50 per cent of NatRoad members falling into the owner operator category, NatRoad will look to ASBFEO for policy development that assists small operators who are the backbone of the road freight industry,” NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

“The Office should be charged with examining every Bill that proceeds to the federal Parliament to assess the impact on small business.

“This process would add to the cause of helping small businesses throughout the economy, as well as small transport owner operators. The red tape burden must be cut.

“We want laws for owner operators to be consistent, clear and reflective of the fact that they are proud, independent operators.

“NatRoad is looking forward to working with Mr Billson, particularly on strengthening unfair contract terms laws.

“NatRoad thanks outgoing Ombudsman Kate Carnell AO for her support during her term in the Office. In particular, her backing of the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) and her constant efforts on behalf of small business to increase payment times were matters that made a difference.”

Carnell sees Billson as well-suited to the role, given his work as a minister, describing him as a champion of the sector.

“Having played an integral role in the establishment of the Ombudsman’s office, Mr Billson is well positioned to carry the torch,” she says.

“He is highly regarded by the small business community and I am confident he will be an effective advocate for the sector.”

Read how the RSRT was Carnell’s first concern as ASBFEO, here

Billson thanks Carnell for her unwavering commitment to the small business sector over the past five years.

“Ms Carnell leaves a lasting legacy, as a fierce advocate for Australian small businesses and a strong foundation to build on,” Billson says.

“The pandemic has been punishing for many of our small and family businesses, which will need a supportive environment to help lead the nation into recovery.

“All of my efforts will go towards putting the wind in the sails of small business and helping to energise enterprise to Australia’s benefit.

“Most importantly, I’ll be focused on ensuring the small business community has the support and confidence they need to survive and thrive well beyond the Covid crisis.”  

Over the past five years and along with the RSRT issue, Carnell has taken up the cudgels on late payment times, illegal phoenixing, terminal access charges, Heavy Vehicle National Law reform,


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