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Small business helpline receives 100,000 calls

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s new small Business helpline has reportedly received more than 100,000 calls since it was established in December last year.

Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, said the service was created to provide reliable information to small business, and that figures so far indicate that business owners are leveraging the service.

Mr Billson added that the helpline was established to help small business people improve their knowledge and operate in line with relevant laws so they feel confident to grow, invest and create jobs.

“In Australia we have more than two million employing small businesses and it’s great to see so many enterprising people using the helpline to seek fast expert advice,” Mr Billson said.

Small business operators have mainly called for assistance and information on wages, modern awards and conditions of employment under the Fair Work Act, the majority of callers were from the hairdressing, beauty, hospitality, trade and construction sectors.

The government is also spruiking the guarantee that business owners should feel they can rely on advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman without fear of prosecution should the information be incorrect.

“This means that small business people can now have the confidence to call and get the right advice,” Senator Eric Abetz, Minister for Employment, said.

In addition to the Small Business Helpline, the Fair Work Ombudsman has also developed a Hiring New Employees Guide and given an assurance that small business people can rely on their advice.

The dedicated Small Business Helpline is available on 13 13 94.

Specialist advisors announced for multicultural businesses

Small business owners in Greater Western Sydney who speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Arabic will soon have access to a number of specialist business advisors who will deliver our successful Small Biz Connect program in these languages.

NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs joined Acting NSW Premier and Minister for Small Business, Andrew Stoner, in announcing the multicultural business advisors initiative earlier this month.

These advisors will provide face-to-face business advice and support, engage with multicultural stakeholders and bodies, and ensure services are suitable to the cultural needs of the small business owners they engage with.

The NSW Government has committed $1.1 million in new funding for this new initiative, as many of the 135,556 small businesses operating in Western Sydney, one of the most culturally diverse regions in Australia, are owned by multicultural residents.

The languages chosen are based on the current uptake of our services among linguistically diverse small business owners, and ABS data ranking NSW communities’ proficiency in spoken English.

There is also a recently released suite of translated resources in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese, which are accessed through the language portal.

The resources include information about the services offered by the office of the Small Business Commissioner, namely; the NSW Retail Tenant’s Guide, the Small Business Info Kit, and fact sheets listing key areas of compliance for small businesses.