Small businesses encouraged to give feedback on payment legislation

Small businesses are being encouraged to have they say on draft legislation for payment time frameworks, which would require more transparency on the issue.

The federal government have opened their Payment Times Reporting Framework for consultation.

It would apply to roughly 2,500 large businesses, including both government entities and foreign companies, and would force businesses with a turnover of more than $100 million to publish their payment policies.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell is urging small business owners to share their experiences to help shape the framework, saying cash-flow is ‘king’ for small business.

“Late payments by large businesses to small businesses account for 53% of all invoices, according to data from Xero,” Ms Carnell said.

“That’s $7 billion of working capital that Australian small businesses are missing out on every year – money they could be using to grow their business.”

The consultation period for the framework closes on March 6.

It comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Small Business in Focus report found complaints from small businesses of false and misleading conduct by other businesses had increased by eight per cent in the six months leading to December last year.

The more than 900 reports accounted for one third of small business reports to the ACCC and most commonly related to complaints from franchisees against franchisors.

ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said it was ‘concerning’.

“The ACCC will take action when we become aware of misleading and deceptive conduct, especially when that conduct has the potential to result in widespread harm,” he said.

“A recent example was our investigation into concerns that Coles Group may not have fully passed on to Norco a milk price rise, as it claimed it would in its marketing materials. As a result of ACCC action, Coles committed to paying Norco dairy farmers around $5.25 million.”

“We are continuing our work to educate franchisees that franchising, like other businesses, involves risks and to remind franchisors of their obligations.”

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