Demand for help to resolve commercial dispute remains strong according to the Victorian Small Business Commission’s (VSBC) Annual Report 2022-23 tabled yesterday in Parliament.
The year marked the 20th anniversary for the VSBC in providing a vital low cost alternative dispute resolution service for Victorian small businesses, with over 33,000 Victorian assisted to resolve a dispute since its establishment.
In 2022-23, 2028 applied for help to resolve a dispute, which is an increase of 8 per cent on the number who applied before the pandemic.
Nearly a third of all matters were resolved early on, and of the matters that did go on to mediation, 66 per cent were successfully resolved without the need for costly and stressful legal action.
The major causes of disputes referred to the VSBC involved matters relating to unpaid money for example, where a building sub-contractor has completed work on a residential building but hasn’t been paid or where a tenant is unable to pay ongoing monthly rent in addition to rent that was deferred during the pandemic.
Commissioner Lynda McAlary-Smith said that many small businesses are continuing to grapple with compounding pressures – from the impacts of debt deferrals and lost revenue as a result of COVID-19 through to soaring increases in the costs of doing business.
“The VSBC is committed to providing an expert, tailored service that supports Victoria’s small business people to thrive and enables parties to move forward when commercial conflict arises.
“We will continue to have a strong voice across all levels of government to fight for Victorian small businesses to have a fair and competitive environment to do business,” Commissioner McAlary-Smith said.
Learn more about the VSBC’s supports and what their data shows.
The VSBC is an independent government agency that advocates on issues affecting people in small business, educates them about their rights and responsibilities, and helps them to avoid or resolve disputes.