Victorian Small Business Commissioner Judy O’Connell has been named as one of this year’s Top 50 Public Sector Women in Victoria.

Ms O’Connell was named as a Top 50 awardee in Victoria last night.

Ms O’Connell said she was humbled to have been named alongside such inspirational and accomplished women.

“I am honoured to have been named one of the Top 50 Public Sector Women in Victoria. I work with a dedicated team at the Victorian Small Business Commission who are full of passion, enthusiasm and a willingness to assist small business owners and create a level playing field for small business,” Ms O’Connell said.

Ms O’Connell, whose public service career spans 30 years, has been the Victorian Small Business Commissioner since 2016.

She comes from a family of small business owners – both her father and two sisters operate their own businesses.

Since becoming Victorian Small Business Commissioner, Ms O’Connell has overseen the development of a new three-year business strategy outlining plans for a fairer and more competitive environment for Victoria’s small businesses, as well as the creation of the Victorian Small Business Commission from 1 July 2017, providing her with broader and stronger functions.

In partnership with the Business Council of Australia, she also developed the Australian Supplier Payments Code to promote businesses and government paying their small business suppliers within 30 days. To date there are more than 80 signatories to the code including the Victorian Government. She has also helped more than 1,700 small business owners resolve business disputes quickly and at a low cost, without a lengthy court case.

Earlier this year she launched the Latrobe Valley, Grow Your Business Together Initiative – raising the voice of small business through a series of breakfast and pop-up events in the La Trobe Valley connecting business owners with key government agencies and trader networks.  She also developed a mental health strategic plan for small business owners to incorporate into their business development plans.

The Top 50 Public Sector Women awards for 2018 were celebrated last night at an awards ceremony at the Melbourne Town Hall. The judging panel was chaired by Emily Phillips of Agriculture Victoria, and included:

* Kelly Grigsby, CEO of Wyndham City Council

* Kym Peake, Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services

* Ben Rimmer, CEO of City of Melbourne

* David Ryan, Managing Director, City West Water

* Dr Gillian Sparkes, Commissioner, Environmental Sustainability

* Wendy Steendam, Deputy Commissioner, Capability, Victoria Police

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