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Payment times bill to hold big business accountable

13 May 2020

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed the Government’s move to disclose the payment times offered by big businesses. 

The Government introduced legislation into Parliament today to establish a Payment Times Reporting Framework, requiring 2,500 of Australia’s largest businesses and government enterprises to report how long it takes them to pay small business. 

“Trucking is a small and family business industry. More than 98 per cent of trucking operators are owner‑operators or small businesses,” Mr Maguire said. 

“Trucking is also characterised by tight margins, and most costs, like wages and fuel, are incurred before operators can bill their customers. Operators often have little capacity to negotiate with large customers,” he said. 

Mr Maguire said that while the ATA welcomed the move to make payment times more transparent, the legislation did not go far enough. 

“Trucking businesses are vulnerable to adverse changes in their payment times, and monitoring schemes have limited effect. They are regularly ignored,” he said. 

“For example, the ACCC monitoring of landside port charges is openly mocked by the stevedores, with prices climbing to astronomical levels.” 

In a submission on the Payment Times Reporting Framework, the ATA called for a mandatory code for the trucking industry to address payment terms issues facing trucking businesses. 

“Given the scope of the problem, however, the Government needs to follow the UK’s approach and include all business to business transactions in mandatory payment terms legislation, with the statutory time period set at 20 days,” Mr Maguire said. 

“Australia’s economic recovery from the pandemic will depend on the nation’s small businesses – but cash flow to them will be more important now than ever before.” 

The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.