Home News & Publications High demand for help to resolve Victoria’s commercial disputes

High demand for help to resolve Victoria’s commercial disputes

With the Victorian Small Business Commission’s (VSBC) Annual Report 2022 having been tabled in Parliament, their data reveals high demand for help to resolve commercial disputes due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

Victorians are walking away more satisfied with the VSBC’s mediation service for resolving these disputes, with the overall satisfaction rate increasing to 88 per cent.

A record 19,775 Victorians made enquiries to the VSBC and 3,171 applied for help to resolve a dispute, which is a 68 per cent increase on the number who applied before the pandemic.

43 per cent of all matter were resolved early on, and of the matters that did go on to mediation, 70 per cent were successfully resolved without the need for costly and stressful legal action.

Small business people contended with a broad range of disputes, including over who should pay for repairs under a retail lease, landlords refusing to provide rent relief to their tenants, unpaid supplier invoices and goods and services that were below par.

Commissioner Lynda McAlary-Smith said the VSBC focused on responding to small business pressures – from deferred debts that were becoming payable and acute labour and skills shortages to international supply chain disruption and inflationary pressures.

“Our core priorities have been increasing awareness of the VSBC’s impartial dispute resolution services, continually improving on those services, and helping to make sure small business people have the information and help they need to make informed decisions.

“In the work that we do, we have heard incredible stories of resilience, strength and entrepreneurship among Victoria’s small business people. In 2022–23 we will continue to support them in working through recovery towards renewal and do all that we can to help achieve a fair and competitive trading environment,” Commissioner McAlary-Smith said.

Learn more about the VSBC’s supports and what their data shows.