6 December 2022

Paying on time to help Australia’s small business prosper

The Albanese Government has taken the first step towards improving payment times for small businesses with the commencement today of an independent review of the operation of the Payment Times Reporting Act 2020 (the Act).

The Government has appointed the Honourable Dr Craig Emerson to lead the Review, which will focus on how to improve payment times to Australia’s 2.5 million small businesses.

This will help to deliver on the Albanese Government’s Better Deal for Small Business.

Minister for Small Business Julie Collins said the commencement of the review was critical to make sure Australia’s small business were paid on time.

“We know what a difference better payment times can mean for small businesses to improve cashflow and provide more certainty for business planning,” Minister Collins said.

“While increased transparency has helped to shine a light on this issue, our Government is committed to investigating the issues around late payment times to small business.”

Under the Act, large businesses and government enterprises (known as reporting entities) must submit information on their payment terms and actual payment performance for small businesses to the Payment Times Reporting Regulator in Treasury every six months.

These ‘payment times reports’ are subsequently published and made publicly accessible on the Payment Times Reporting scheme website.

“The Albanese Government is delivering for small business – cracking down on unfair contracts, updating Commonwealth Procurement Rules and helping improve digital outcomes,” Minister Collins said.

“Today’s announcement continues this progress which is all about improving the long-term resilience of Australia’s small businesses.

“We know small business have had an incredibly difficult few years, so our Government is not wasting a day to deliver more.”

The Review will be completed in the first half of 2023 and will include public consultation.

Small businesses and reporting entities will have opportunities to contribute and there will be targeted engagement with representatives from industry associations, business services and government agencies that have substantial interactions with reporting entities and small businesses.

Dr Emerson will present a final report of findings and recommendations to the Government at the completion of the Review. For more information about the Review, including the Terms of Reference, please visit the Treasury website.

About Dr Craig Emerson

Dr Emerson is an eminent Australian economist and has had a long and distinguished career in the Australian Government. He is a former Minister for Trade and Competitiveness and for Small Business. He brings a wealth of policy, regulatory and corporate experience as well as his understanding of the pressures facing small businesses and the operational environment for large businesses.