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Inform | Mediate | Advocate

Frequently Asked Questions

Who does the SASBC help?

The SASBC assists South Australian small operators to assist them resolve commercial disputes with other businesses, or with state or local government with as little stress as possible.

What is a commercial dispute?

A commercial (or business) dispute can be described as a conflict arising from any commercial agreement between businesses, or between businesses and government or not-for-profit organisations.

What sort of enquiries and cases can SASBC help with?

Enquiries and cases include:

  • Tenancy disputes between small business operators and landlords (e.g. early release from lease agreements).
  • Business transactional issues (e.g. late or non-payment for goods and services, issues with the quality of goods supplied, non-delivery of goods).
  • Problems with business related motor vehicles and equipment.
  • Franchising matters.
  • Payment disputes in the building and construction industry.
  • Assisting farmers who find themselves in financial difficulty with their financier or bank through the administration of the Farm Debt Mediation Scheme. The Scheme prescribed by the Farm Debt Mediation Act 2018 which prevents a financial institution or a financier from being able to commence recovery action against a farmer unless they have engaged with the OSBC and gone through certain processes.
  • Negotiations between farmers and resources companies in relation to access to farming land.

Is there a limit in the amount in dispute that the SASBC can assist with?

No. The SASBC can assist with any amount in dispute, ranging from hundreds of dollars to millions of dollars.

What happens if a business doesn’t engage with SASBC during a raised dispute?

It is anticipated that the majority of businesses involved in disputes will be willing to work with the Commissioner to resolve the situation. This power enables the Commissioner to properly investigate the issues associated with a dispute. Without the necessary information the Commissioner would not be able to have the best opportunity to assist the parties.

The Small Business Commissioner may request information by providing a written request under Section 12 of the Small Business Commissioner Act 2011. A failure to respond to this request may lead to prosecution with a fine of up to $20,000.  A court would determine any penalty. From the consultation process legal professional privilege was added to this section to put that beyond doubt. If the Commissioner is seen by a party to being unreasonable then that party may apply for judicial review or refer the matter to the SA Ombudsman.

What happens if my dispute is not resolved at mediation?

If mediation takes place and a dispute is not resolved, the SASBC can issue a certificate stating that alternative dispute resolution has been attempted but has been unsuccessful. For some disputes, this certificate is necessary for the matter to proceed to litigation.

What is the mediation process?

Link to mediation process.

How do I contact the SASBC?

Link to contact form. 

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