Gippsland’s small business owners will have more support when it comes to disputes, with the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) having local mediator James Sullivan come on board.
When a small business has a dispute, the VSBC can bring the business owner and the other party together with an independent mediator to talk through the issues confidentially and try to reach an agreement.
Commissioner Judy O’Connell said having another experienced mediator based in the region is a definite win for Gippsland.
“It’s great that small business owners will be able to access more help in resolving their dispute locally without needing to take time away from their business to travel to and from Melbourne,” Commissioner O’Connell said.
Sale local Mr Sullivan is an accredited specialist in commercial litigation who has experience in resolving a wide range of disputes, including retail leasing disputes between landlords and tenants, and disputes between farmers and creditors.
“When I first meet the parties, I focus on building their confidence in me as a mediator and in the mediation process,” Mr Sullivan said.
“I encourage each party to say everything about the dispute that they think is relevant so they feel they are genuinely taking part in the process and having their say on the issues that are important to them.”
Commissioner O’Connell said mediation with the VSBC works, as it saves small businesses a lot of money and time.
“They don’t have to pay costly legal fees or go through lengthy court proceedings, meaning they can get back to running their businesses quicker,” Commissioner O’Connell said.
In 2018–19 the VSBC helped a record 2,074 small businesses to resolve their disputes, achieving a success rate of 82 per cent for completed mediations.
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