The Greens will introduce legislation to enforce penalties for corporations and governments for late payments to small businesses, contractors and freelancers.
"Payment times by Australian corporations are by far the worst in the developed world," Greens small business spokesperson Senator Nick McKim said.
“Big corporations and governments are treating smaller operators like piggy banks.”
"People struggle to pay their mortgages and put food on the table if they aren’t being paid on time. Late payments are creating unnecessary stress and anxiety for small business owners and their families."
"Financial penalties on big corporations and governments for withholding payments will help ensure small businesses, subcontractors and freelancers are paid on time."
"A voluntary code of conduct will not do the job."
"The experience overseas has been that it is companies with existing good payment practices that are far more likely to sign up and comply, and that a voluntary code with no enforcement provisions makes little or no difference."
"This legislation continues the Greens’ proud record of standing up for small business."
"We led the parliamentary campaign on the effects test, pushed for the office of the small business ombudsman, and delivered stronger legislated protections against unfair contracts."
The penalties will apply for contracts involving a small business ($10m or less annual turnover) and a large business ($25m or more annual turnover) or government agency, when payments to the small business are not made within 30 days.
Penalties will apply at 30 days past the date on which goods or services were provided, or date on which the invoice was received, whichever is later. Further penalties will apply if the invoice remains unpaid.
The legislation will be introduced later this year.