The Australian Government recognises the problem of long and late payment times for Australian’s small businesses. To address the issue, the Government announced in November 2018 that it would implement a Payment Times Reporting Scheme. From 1 January 2021, large businesses and certain government agencies with a total annual income of $100 million will need to publicly report on their payment terms and practices for small business suppliers, increasing transparency and incentivising better payment performance.
The Scheme design and legislation has been consulted on widely. Since early 2019, consultation on the design and development of the Scheme has been held with over 400 large businesses, small businesses, industry groups and government agencies. Consultations included four discussion papers, multiple workshops, a survey of small business stakeholders, targeted meetings and an Exposure of the legislation and subordinate legislation.
The purpose of the Payment Times Reporting Scheme is to improve payment times for Australian small businesses.
The scheme will:
- increase transparency of the payment performance of large businesses so small businesses can make more informed decisions about their potential customers
- drive cultural change to improve payment times
Consultations ran from 13 February 2019 to 26 June 2020.
There were 81 submissions received in total of which 53 were published based on consent from businesses, industry organisations and individuals.
The Payment Times Reporting Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 14 October 2020 and came into effect on 1 January 2021.
The legislation reflects stakeholder interests and minimises the reporting burden for large businesses while maximising transparency on their small business payment terms and practices.