Small-business supplier payment code now covers half a trillion in revenue

The Business Council’s supplier payment code now covers more than half a trillion dollars’ worth of revenue with some of the biggest players at the centre of Australia’s most important supply chains, underscoring their long-held commitment to small-business partners by signing up.

Recent signatories to the code include Scentre Group, owner and operator of Westfield in Australia and New Zealand, Woolworths, Coles, Kmart and Target. Energy players Origin, EnergyAustralia and AGL are members of the code along with the nation’s resource giants BHP, Rio Tinto, Woodside and FMG. Food and beverage manufacturers Coca-Cola Amatil, Lion, Nestle, and Mars Australia have also made the commitment to their small suppliers.

The code requires all signatories to pay small business suppliers within 30 days and to work with small businesses to improve invoicing and payments systems, such as through greater adoption of electronic trading, said Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott.

“We launched the code with the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia and Victorian Government in 2017 because we know that businesses of all sizes depend on each other to thrive. We heard community concerns about small business payment times, and we are acting to make sure they get a fair go,” Ms Westacott said. “Since its launch the code has grown to cover some of Australia’s biggest companies with thousands of small business suppliers, helping smaller businesses grow with their larger partners.”

The Business Council has released former ACCC chair Graeme Samuel’s independent review of the code, which found that the code can work for small businesses and that there is no reason that governments and large businesses can’t sign up now.

The review made a number of recommendations to address issues raised in the expert panel’s consultation process and promote greater adoption of the code. All recommendations have been adopted.

“With the recommendations of the independent review now fully adopted the code can continue to give small businesses the certainty they need to plan, grow, invest and employ more working Australians,” Ms Westacott said.

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