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ASIC has announced its vision and specific actions for working with small businesses over the next three years, as the regulator ramps up its effort to support small businesses.
ASIC commissioner John Price unveiled the Small Business Strategy 2017-2020 at the National Small Business Summit in Melbourne yesterday, outlining three strategic priorities of “being to engage, assist and protect”.
In the strategy release, ASIC said it would engage with the industry and the government to understand and respond to challenges and opportunities faced by small businesses.
The regulator added that it would aim to assist small businesses through its registry services and developing financial capability information and resources for owners to help them understand their compliance obligations.
Lastly, the strategy outlined how ASIC would work to level the playing field by conducting surveillance, investigate and where appropriate take administrative, civil, criminal or other action, and contribute to key policy reforms and government initiatives that have an impact on small businesses.
“ASIC's interaction with small business is vast and occurs through direct engagement and via industry and government bodies responsible for assisting small business,” Mr Price said.
“We assist small business through our registry services and by providing information to build financial capability in current and future small business owners, by providing regulatory guidance and we also protect small business through our ongoing surveillance, enforcement and policy work.
“The contribution of the small business sector to the Australian economy is universally recognised. It employs half of Australia's workforce and makes up one fifth of Australia's gross domestic product.”
Mr Price pointed to its joint effort with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman in pressing the big four banks to eliminate unfair terms from small business contracts as an example of the regulator’s commitment to small businesses.
Of all Australian companies and businesses registered with ASIC, approximately 96 per cent are considered small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
“The contribution of the small business sector to the Australian economy is universally recognised. It employs half of Australia's workforce and makes up one fifth of Australia's gross domestic product,” added Mr Price.
“As ASIC's largest customer and stakeholder, ASIC is committed to promoting and acting in the interests of small business.”