Australia

Kate Carnell AO FAICD has been announced as the inaugural Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

Carnell's appointment was announced this week by Small Business Minister Kelly O'Dwyer, who described it as "a major win for small business owners who will have access to advice and support”, and an "independent advocate to ensure the government creates the right conditions for small businesses to grow".

Carnell has held the position of CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) since 2014, which represents more than 300,000 businesses across Australia. She is the former CEO of beyondblue, the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the Australian General Practice Network.

She began her career as a small business owner, running her own pharmacy for 15 years before joining politics and becoming ACT Chief Minister. According to Minister O’Dwyer, Carnell is well-positioned to translate the voices of small Australian businesses and family enterprises into targeted policy messages for government.

Commencing the role as an independent Ombudsman in March for a five five-year period, Carnell will act as a:

  1. Commonwealth advocate for small businesses and family enterprises.
  2. Concierge for dispute resolution service to allow businesses to resolve disputes without resorting to costly litigation.
  3. Contributor to the development of small business Commonwealth laws and regulations.