This report makes for fascinating reading, especially this recommendation:

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends the establishment of an independent Retail Industry Ombudsman through which small business can bring complaints or queries relating to the retailing sector for speedy resolution. The Committee believes that the Retail Industry Ombudsman should consider, among other things, the application of the Retail Industry Code of Conduct (Recommendation 5) in his or her deliberations.

Where complaints received by the Retail Industry Ombudsman raise issues that fall within the jurisdiction of another established body, such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, those complaints should be referred to such bodies for further investigation.

The Committee recommends that the Retail Industry Ombudsman be appointed and funded by the Government.

The Committee recommends that the Retail Industry Ombudsman be required to produce a bi-annual report to the Parliament in order to increase transparency in the retailing industry.

While the recently established Retail Grocery Industry Ombudsman is a welcome move, it does not provide small business non grocery retailers a place to take their issues.

Back in 1999 the parliamentary committee expressed concern about the challenges facing independent small business retailers and made a series of recommendations to support their future. The lack of action by the Federal Government on the recommendations of the committee demonstrates a lack of support for small business.

The aggressive pursuit of competition policy has come at a cost to small business and the community which will only be measured when it is too late.

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