New ASBFEO appointed, replacing Carnell

Australia has a new small business and family enterprise Ombudsman with former federal Liberal MP Bruce Billson replacing Kate Carnell, who has now finished her five-year term.

Billson is stepping into the role at a crucial time for small business as many start this week without the JobKeeper wage payment helping cover their payroll.

It also comes as the small business sector gets a new federal minister with Stuart Robert taking over as Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business portfolio from Michaelia Cash, who is Australia’s new Attorney General following the removal of Christian Porter from that role.

Porter is now taking responsibility for science, technology and manufacturing with Karen Andrews moving to Peter Dutton’s former powerful portfolio of Home Affairs.

Billson has welcomed Robert to the new portfolio and says he looks forward to working with him to acheive the best outcomes for Australian small businesses.

“Australia is a nation of small and family businesses, who have endured a challenging 12 months.

New Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson

“It has never been more important to ensure small and family businesses are supported to help lead the nation into recovery.

“Minister Robert has a background in business and therefore has first-hand knowledge of what it takes to own and operate a growing company.

“I’m certain the vibrant and energetic Gold Coast small business community have been keeping Minister Robert, as a local MP, well appraised of the challenges and headwinds they are facing.

“We look forward to working with Minister Robert on small business policy as well as a range of important issues for small and family enterprises.  

“I also thank former Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash for her commitment to supporting the small business sector over the past two years. She has done a fantastic job and I wish her well in her new role as Attorney General.”

Carnell welcomed Billson’s appointment, describing the former Small Business Minister 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,” Carnell says.

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

Billson thanked the outgoing Ombudsman Ms 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 said.

“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.”  

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