Call for regional and rural mediators to help small businesses resolve disputes
The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) is calling for regional and rural mediators skilled in resolving commercial disputes to apply to be on their statewide mediation panel.
The VSBC’s role is to bring parties in a dispute together with an independent mediator so they can explore creative options for resolving the matter without needing to go to court.
Last financial year over 5,000 Victorians applied for help to resolve a dispute, which is almost double 2019–20. 3,704 cases were for disputes over rent relief in response to the pandemic, 8 per cent of which came from regional Victoria.
The VSBC also helped to resolve disputes in other areas including farm debt, retail leasing and small business matters – be it over unpaid invoices or goods that were below par.
The VSBC is keen to create a diverse panel (metropolitan, regional and rural) that can provide an inclusive and accessible service.
This is why they’re looking to appoint mediators who identify as, or have experience in providing mediation services to Victorian Aboriginal people, Victorians with a disability, disadvantaged Victorians or clients who have mental health challenges.
They need to have national mediator accreditation, relevant experience (including in mediating disputes via video/teleconferencing and online platforms) and capability in relevant jurisdictions.
Applications to join the panel for a two-year term are open until 3 November 2021.
For more information, see the webpage on becoming a VSBC mediator.
Quote attributable to Commissioner Lynda McAlary-Smith
“We want good communicators who understand the issues confronting regional and rural small business owners and are passionate about helping them to resolve disputes quickly and at a low cost.”