Yesterday afternoon, the new Small Business Minister Kelly O’Dwyer announced that the Turnbull government would accept the Senate’s amendments to the ‘unfair contracts protections’ Bill for small business people.
ICA is DELIGHTED!
This means that self-employed, independent contractors and small business people with fewer than 21 employees will have access to the same unfair contract protections currently available to consumers. The protections will apply to contracts up to $300,000 in value for one year and to $1,000,000 in value for contracts longer than one year.
Let’s be clear about what those protections actually are. It’s about a balance in the structure of ‘standard form’ contracts. That is, one party cannot, for example, change the price of the contract without the other party’s agreement. That’s fair and sensible. Here’s a list of the contract ‘balance’ requirements under the Bill.
The Senate has proven its worth. Last month, we said that Senators ‘saved the Bill’. They have demonstrated the value of an independent Senate as a genuine house of review. Robert Gottliebsen in Business Spectator made the same point yesterday.
But, to the Turnbull government’s credit, they have responded positively, with Kelly O’Dwyer arguing the case. This is a win not only for small business people but for large businesses as well.