Victorian Small Business Commission
Loddon Mallee’s small business owners will have more support when it comes to disputes, with the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) having local mediator Sheree Anderson 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 Loddon Mallee.
“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.
Echuca local Ms Anderson is an accredited mediator with experience in understanding and communicating people’s rights and responsibilities when it comes to retail leases, and in resolving farm debt disputes.
She said her role is to support the parties in coming to an agreement themselves.
“I do this by gaining a thorough understanding of the conflict, identifying where the parties agree and disagree, and creating options for agreement,” Ms Anderson said.
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.