Small business

The Victorian Small Business Commission has a number of roles under the Small Business Commission Act 2017.

The VSBC aims to create a fair and competitive environment for Victorian small business to operate, grow and prosper through by:

  • Advocating on behalf of small business
  • Resolving disputes
  • Monitoring the small business environment
  • Engaging with the small business community

How we help

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) was established to create a fair and competitive environment for Victorian small business to operate, grow and prosper through its four key functions – advocating on behalf of small business, resolving disputes, monitoring the small business environment and engaging with the small business community.

In terms of dispute resolution, some of the common disputes the VSBC can help with include resolving disputes in relation to:

  • licensing and agency agreements
  • franchise agreements
  • distribution agreements
  • partnerships
  • supply contracts
  • tenders
  • buying and selling a business

Approaching the VSBC is a good first step to identify the type of assistance you may need. There’s a good chance, for example, that our low-cost mediation service helps you resolve your dispute without the need for litigation.

Mediation with the VSBC is $195 per party, per half day session for these types of disputes. There is no cost for preliminary assistance that occurs over the phone or on email.

Legislation

The Small Business Commission Act 2017 (the Act) establishes the Small Business Commission (the Commission) to enhance a competitive and fair operating environment for small business in Victoria.

The Commission is constituted by the Small Business Commissioner, as head of the Commission.  The Act also repeals and re-enacts with amendments the Small Business Commissioner Act 2003.

The Act came into effect on 1 July 2017 – for further details on the new Act, please see the information sheet.

What does the Act do?

  • Expressly provides the Commission with the authority to assist small businesses to resolve their disputes with other businesses, not-for-profits, councils, government departments and other government agencies.
  • Enables the Commission to receive and investigate complaints by small business regarding unfair market practices or commercial dealings and provide alternative dispute resolution between the parties involved in the complaint
  • Enables the Commission to deal with a broad range of alternative dispute resolution services.
  • Empowers the Commission to issue certificates where dispute resolution has been attempted but has been unsuccessful or where a party has refused to participate. Where a party has unreasonably refused to participate, the Commission may publish details of the certificate in the Annual Report.

With the commencement of the Commission on 1 July 2017, the VSBC will continue to provide its full range of existing functions, including its effective and low cost mediation services and its education and information function to assist small business to minimise disputes.

 

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