ACCC's Sims pledges to listen to small business

Initiatives for the sector 'in the pipeline' as Commission chairman reveals family links to transport

September 13, 2011

New Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims has reiterated his pledge to lend an ear to the concerns of small business.

Addressing the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) business leaders dinner last night, Sims cast the sector as "clearly a key target consumer group we seek to assist" and admitted the ACCC "may not in the past always have been particularly clever in dealing with small business, including by not providing information in an accessible way".

Among the initiatives under consideration were a small business Facebook page, Twitter accounts and phone or iPad applications, testing new and revised publications with the sector, and a more user-friendly information on its website.

A Griffith University pre-entry educational program for potential franchisees was already underway.

While Sims says that "we have a number of new initiatives in the pipeline to address this" and insists that the ACCC "can be a champion of small business", he did not promise back the sector in all disputes.

He did point to action taken against Link Solutions, Telstra and Cabcharge as proof that the Commission has taken the side of smaller parties.

The Commission was presently focusing in tackling scams such as misleading invoicing, naming Yellow Page Marketing BV and Yellow Publishing Ltd and European City Guide.

"These companies and others like them use sophisticated, cunning, effective methods to try to exploit busy, time-poor businesspeople," Sims says.

Interestingly, in highlighting his understanding of the small business experience, Sims revealed some family exposure to the transport industry.

"I cannot miss the opportunity to point out, however, that my grandparents, parents and virtually all of my uncles and aunts ran small businesses," he told guests.

"At one time the Simses ran the Apollo Bay drapers shop, bus company, hardware store and pub.

"My father ran a general store then a service station in Lorne, and he was also the local taxi driver and tow truck operator."

"Other relatives were farmers and my aunt was a real estate agent."

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