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Assistant Director, Executive Level 1, Advocacy

About the team

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is looking for tomorrow’s capable and professional leaders to help drive our advocacy program across a broad range of complex issues.  This is your opportunity to make a positive contribution for small businesses and family enterprises engaging in the Australian business environment.

The role of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is to:

  • Assist small businesses to resolve disputes without resorting to costly litigation.  Our dispute resolution service assists with disputes between small business and government and small businesses and other businesses (large or small), including disputes under the Franchising, Oil and Horticulture Codes and taxation disputes.  We offer a comprehensive range of alternative dispute resolution services, such as mediation, case appraisal and conciliation.
  • Advocate for small businesses and family enterprises and ensure that government policies take into account the needs of the sector.  We directly advise Ministers and government on small business and family enterprise issues and have conducted a large number of inquiries, including into the provision of capital for small business growth, payment times and practices, small business loans, small business access to justice, insolvency practices, and (currently) insurance.

Our ideal candidate

We are recruiting for two Assistant Directors (Executive Level 1) position in our Advocacy Team.  Candidates without previous public service experience are strongly encouraged to apply.

For this role we are seeking a person with:

  • extensive experience working with, in, or running a small and/or family business
  • experience managing and developing a diverse team to build on current office successes
  • demonstrated ability and experience driving evidence-based policy advice and innovations, including through working in or engaging with a peak industry body
  • demonstrated exceptional stakeholder management skills and understanding of the specific stakeholder landscape, including ability to negotiate strategic outcomes and facilitate cooperation
  • tertiary qualification(s) in a relevant field, including but not limited to economics/statistics, law, accounting, business, finance and public policy
  • relevant business/work experience in lieu of tertiary qualifications will also be considered.

Being able to apply your lived experience in dealing with small business issues is a critical component of the role, coupled with flexibility and agility to work across our Office.

Skills required

A successful candidate must be willing to:

  • support and engage with the future direction of the office
  • be flexible and agile to meet immediate needs and future challenges across the whole office
  • be able to work on multiple tasks concurrently and subject to tight deadlines
  • be team-orientated, have energy and determination to succeed
  • be able to engage with complex issues, provide recommendations and display sound judgement and interpersonal skills; and be open, accountable and of high integrity. Further detail and specific skills relevant to individual role is set out below. 

Please note that as part of the recruitment process, assessment tasks will be set to ensure applicants have excellent capacity to write, order their thoughts and arguments, and develop ideas under pressure.

What you will do:

  • team management, including the ability to provide effective and supportive leadership, build team capabilities to meet current and future business needs and effectively manage sensitive issues
  • building positive, collaborative working relationships with, and be responsive to the needs of, a broad range of stakeholders, including but not limited to Commonwealth government departments and agencies, state and territory agencies, private enterprises, peak industry bodies and individuals on small business and family enterprise matters
  • providing direct research, policy and other analysis and advice in relation to matters affecting small businesses and family enterprises
  • demonstrate initiative, flexibility, and capacity to solve problems and work effectively with others while leading a team, and a strong desire to contribute to the work of the office
  • delivering a wide range of projects, conducting research and analysis and providing high level advice on complex matters affecting small businesses
  • assessing themes and trends confronting small businesses and family enterprises
  • preparing reports, briefings, submissions, and other research and correspondence
  • demonstrate a deep understanding of the challenges facing small and family businesses and a clear desire to support the sector
  • representing the office and engaging with a broad range of small businesses, family enterprises, representative organisations and government agencies.

Our Assistant Directors report to the Director, Advocacy and are responsible for delivery of allocated parts of our consultation, research, projects and other advocacy activities.

The focus of these roles is on the advocacy function of the Ombudsman.  This involves contribution to the policy functions of the Ombudsman, namely:

  1. Advocacy and the voice of small business: The Ombudsman is an independent advocate who acts as a conduit for issues that small businesses and family enterprises are facing at a national level.  This includes concerns from smaller enterprises about their dealings with Australian Government agencies and other businesses. An important part of the Ombudsman’s activities is to listen to small businesses and family enterprises and represent those views to government.  The Ombudsman works with and informs Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments on the fair treatment of small business and family enterprise.  The Ombudsman also speaks to the broader business community about the fair treatment of small business and family enterprise.
  2. Inquiries and other contribution to government policy: The Ombudsman helps ensure that Commonwealth legislation and regulations are small business friendly.  The Ombudsman uses the experience and lessons learnt from small business and family enterprise to prepare reports, submissions and other contributions to government.  The Ombudsman also has the ability to conduct inquiries and request information to provide government with the information it needs to better understand how policies impact on small business and family enterprise. Assistant Directors are responsible for leading a team to deliver all aspects of policy research and advice of the Ombudsman.  These pieces of work involve a diverse range of matters and stakeholders.  The team is comprised of people with varied backgrounds and skill sets, including economics/statistics, law, accounting, business, finance, public policy and political science.


  • tertiary qualification(s) in a relevant field, including but not limited to economics/statistics, law, accounting, business, finance and public policy; and
  • relevant business/work experience in lieu of tertiary qualifications will also be considered
  • To be eligible for employment in the APS and the department, applicants must be Australian Citizens.

Security Clearance

These positions require a Baseline security clearance. The successful applicants will be required to obtain and maintain a clearance at this level.


This recruitment process is being used to fill immediate ongoing Executive Level 1 positions. A merit pool may be established to fill future ongoing and non-ongoing Executive Level 1 vacancies should they become available within 12 months from the date advertised. Non-ongoing opportunities may be offered for an initial period of up to 18 months with the possibility of extension (maximum 3 years).

How to apply

Your application must not contain any classified or sensitive information. This includes in your application responses, resume and any other documents. Applications containing classified information may not be considered by the selection panel.
You are required to complete your application online. Aligning your responses with the above job description, provide a one page pitch (750 word maximum) explaining how your skills, knowledge and experience will be relevant to this role and why you are the best candidate for the position.

You are also required to provide your current CV with your application.

Contact information

For more information regarding this opportunity, please contact Alexandra Hordern or on 02 6213 7442.