Small business

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The Treasury provides advice on small business policy issues and assists the Australian Government in developing an internationally competitive and productive environment for small businesses.

The Treasury is responsible for:

  • providing expert policy advice and programs to facilitate the growth of small and family businesses
  • ensuring small business interests are reflected in Australia’s broader economic reform
  • engaging across government to highlight issues affecting small and family businesses, and to ensure their needs are considered.

Our work includes:

  • listening to small and family businesses to understand challenges and opportunities they face
  • gathering data and insights to inform evidence-based, integrated policy design across government
  • identifying opportunities to improve the operating environment for small businesses
  • enabling small and family businesses to thrive by providing the information, connections and support they need
  • being accountable for making real and measurable impacts for small and family businesses
  • enhancing Australia’s reputation for small and family business-friendly policies and programs.

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Our department hosts the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO).

The Ombudsman:

  • is an independent advocate for small business owners offering them advice and assistance
  • has legislative powers to ensure Australian legislation and regulations help small businesses grow.

Employee share schemes

Employee share schemes (ESS) allow employees to acquire shares or other equity interests in the business for which they work, usually at a discount. They are offered as an incentive to employees, allowing them to share in the growth and success of the business.

The Australian Government is making ESS more attractive for companies and their employees by making regulatory and tax improvements to the regime.

Franchising

Our department is responsible for ensuring franchising policy is fit for purpose, and the sector operates fairly and efficiently.

Read more about our role in improving Australia’s franchising sector.

Payment times

We’re committed to ensuring fairer and faster payment times for small businesses. Australian small businesses employ almost half of the Australian workforce. Reducing long (over 30 days) and late payment times to small business will help improve their cash flow and boost employment and wages.

The Australian Government is leading by example through the Supplier Pay On-Time or Pay Interest Policy, which sets a maximum 20 day payment of invoices for procurement contracts. Where both entities are eInvoicing enabled, payment is made within 5 business days.

Payment times reporting

The Payment Times Reporting Scheme aims to improve payment times for Australian small businesses. It creates transparency on how and when large businesses pay their small business suppliers.

Under the scheme, large businesses and government enterprises must report their payment terms and times for small business.

The Australian Government publishes the reports on the Payment Times Reports Register.

Procurement Connected Policy

The Payment Times Procurement Connected Policy (PTPCP) leverages the purchasing power of approximately 100 Commonwealth government agencies to improve payment times to suppliers in the supply chain of government contracts.

Large businesses awarded government contracts of over $4 million are required to pay their new subcontracts (up to $1 million) within 20 calendar days. These requirements apply to large business subcontracts of $4 million or more that flow from the original contract. Late payments of invoices will incur interest penalties. The PTPCP complements the Supplier Pay On-Time or Pay Interest Policy.

Annual pay on-time survey

Each year we conduct the Pay On-Time Survey to collect information about agency performance against the Department of Finance’s Supplier Pay On-Time or Pay Interest Policy.

Read Pay On-Time Survey performance reports.

Wellbeing

The Australian Government is investing in programs and resources to support small business owners’ mental and financial wellbeing. For more information visit:

International councils and committees

Australia is a member of the:

Small business digital support

Small businesses that embrace digital technology can increase their productivity and growth. Digital technology can help businesses navigate economic challenges, deliver products and services faster, respond to changing consumer demands and welcome new customers who want to buy online.

The Digital Solutions – Australian Small Business Advisory Services program offers small businesses nationwide access to low cost, high quality, independent advice on digitalisation, with the aim of improving their productivity, sales, growth and resilience. For a one-off fee of $44, participants can access up to 7 hours of services through webinars, workshops and one-to-one advice, on a range of topics including:

  • digital marketing
  • social media
  • websites
  • cyber security
  • digital tools.

Resources