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  • Rikki Lambert

Small businesses battling contracts lacking COVID compassion: Ombudsman

Australia's Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman says there's been a spike in complaints to his office about contracts that have not been adjusted or reconsidered in light of the impact of COVID-19 and its restrictions on business.

Former Small Business Minister and now Ombudsman Bruce Billson told Flow:

“There’s still a few disputes around where people have had, say, long-standing arrangements that have been really shaken up by COVID”.
“Or, they’ve been involved in contractual arrangements that assumed they’d be trading and trading freely but that’s not been possible and that’s now emerged as a bit of a dispute.”

Hear the full interview with Bruce Billson on the Flow podcast player:

The Ombudsman welcomed the March federal budget saying among other initiatives, $146 million to support recovery in the tourism sector, $80 million to support small and medium export businesses re-establishing in overseas markets and $2.1 million to extend the Small Business Debt Helpline were welcome news:

“We’ve heard first-hand from small and family businesses that have had their COVID recovery impaired by closed borders, restriction of movement and disruptions to international supply chains and these measures will be welcomed.
“This financial counselling support is welcome, particularly for small business owners who have loans secured against the family home and are uncertain about their future.”


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