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Tailored advice for SME businesses

Tailored advice for small and medium-sized businesses

The Government plans to establish an advisory service for small and medium-sized businesses to provide them with employment relations and occupational health and safety assistance.

The budget provides for a two-year pilot programme, starting later this year, at an annual cost of $200,000.

The aim is to find the best ways to deliver information, guidance and assistance to small and medium-sized businesses.

The initiative will see the Department of Labour working more closely with these businesses to develop best-practice information tailored to their needs, and recognises that access to education and best-practice information is fundamental to productive employment relationships.

Longer-term, the service will enable Department of Labour to contribute to improving business practices, and it will help the Government to reduce or remove any unnecessary compliance costs, restrictions on employment and other barriers to growth.

Providing frontline, hands-on assistance of this kind has worked extremely well in the area of Mediation Services, as introduced under the Employment Relations Act. Mediation Services ensure prompt and free-of-charge employment relations advice to prevent workplace disputes from developing into legal tangles.

The Government is committed to maintaining high-quality Mediation Services and the budget provides further funding of $9 million over the next four years. The extra money will allow for a further 900 mediations per year and ensure that waiting times do not lengthen.

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