The days of the South Australian Government being a perpetual laggard in the payment of debts to businesses are numbered under the Marshall Liberal Government.
Premier Steven Marshall has instructed Treasurer Rob Lucas to make delivering the Liberal election promise that State Government Departments will pay their bills on time a priority.
“There is no excuse for the State Government putting the livelihood of small business operators and their employees at risk by stringing out payment for goods and services rendered,” said Premier Marshall.
“The cashflow problems caused to small businesses by late payments are significant. Often, it means small businesses have to delay wages to their own staff and payments to their suppliers.
“Where the invoices for payment are submitted on time, they should be paid on time.”
The National Small Business Ombudsman, Kate Carnell disclosed that the former Labor administration in 2017 had $470 million in outstanding payments, most of them overdue by over 30 days and a large number by more than 60 days.
SA Health alone accounted for $200 million of the outstanding payments.
Each year the South Australian Government spends more than $4 billion on buying goods and services for its departments and agencies.
Premier Marshall has directed the Treasurer to instruct State Government Departments to automatically pay penalties for:
• any contract worth up to $1 million;
• where the amount has been outstanding for more than 60 days;
• where there is no dispute over the correctly rendered invoice; and
• where the penalty interest exceeds $10.
“When the State Government doesn’t pay its Bills on time the ripple effects are felt throughout the economy,” said the Premier Marshall.
“The former Labor administration forced small businesses to jump through hoops when seeking compensation for late payments of accounts.
“Ensuring State Government departments automatically incur penalties for late payment of bills will sharpen up the settling of accounts and cut red tape for businesses dealing with the bureaucracy.”