1 February 2016
Media Release - #2016003, 2016

Appointment of first Small Business Ombudsman

The Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP today announced the appointment of Ms Anne Katherine (Kate) Carnell AO as the inaugural Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

Today's appointment fulfils a key Government election commitment to establish an independent Ombudsman with real powers to act as a:

  • Commonwealth advocate for small businesses and family enterprises;
  • Concierge for dispute resolution service to allow businesses to resolve disputes without resorting to costly litigation; and
  • Contributor to the development of small business Commonwealth laws and regulations.

Ms Carnell will commence the new role on 11 March for a five year period.

Ms Carnell brings extensive experience and knowledge to the role of Ombudsman. Ms Carnell, who ran her own small businesses for 15 years before becoming ACT Chief Minister, is well-positioned to translate the voices of small Australian businesses and family enterprises into targeted policy messages for Government.

Ms Carnell has held the position of CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2014, which represents more than 300,000 businesses across Australia.

She is the former CEO of beyondblue, the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the Australian General Practice Network. She is a pharmacist by profession and was the first female to become the National Vice-President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Today's appointment is a major win for small business owners who will have access to advice and support, and an independent advocate to ensure the Government creates the right conditions for small businesses to grow.

The Government acknowledges small businesses make a substantial contribution to Australia's economy with over two million small businesses generating around a third of economic output.

I congratulate Ms Carnell on her full-time appointment and trust she will make an outstanding contribution to ensure that small businesses and family enterprises can thrive.