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Australia Names New Small Business Minister

Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, officially took office late last week, and with his entrance comes a government reshuffle that has small business policy taking center stage.

Reports in SmartCompany on Monday (Aug. 27) said PM Morrison has appointed Michaelia Cash, former jobs and innovation minister, as the nation’s small business minister. The appointment marked the reentry of the position into the PM’s cabinet.

Cash will operate with the title of minister for small and family business, skills and vocational education. The former small business minister, Craig Laundy, is said to be phased out, likely as a result of his ongoing support for former Prime Minister Malcolm Furnbull.

Reports noted that the position of small business minister has rotated five times in only three years.

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia’s chief executive, Peter Strong, told SmartCompany that the return of small business issues in the cabinet is a positive step.

“Being in cabinet is a big thing, and the last time we had small business in cabinet it really worked, and we got some good stuff done,” he said. “The fact that the ministry is also connected to [vocational education and training (VET)] is good, too, as VET has been failing SMEs and failing Australia.”

Reports said Strong has spoken with Cash about key topics he would like to see the administration focus on, including reduction of regulatory red tape and streamlined workplace relations processes.

Australia will retain its small business ombudsman, a position currently held by Kate Carnell, who reportedly welcomed the reentry of small business into the cabinet as well.

“It’s great to have the small business portfolio back in cabinet and to have Michaelia Cash as the minister responsible,” Carnell said. “Australia is a nation of small businesses and family enterprise, and our new prime minister, Scott Morrison, sees the value of this sector — the backbone of the Australian economy.”

The new position and government shakeup come as authorities continue their crackdown on major banks’ mistreatment of small business customers.

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