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Australian faster payments initiative gains traction

The Australian Supplier Payment Code, a voluntary initiative under which signatories promise to pay small business suppliers within 30 days of receiving a correct invoice, is gaining traction less than two years since its launch.

Scentre Group, owner and operator of the Westfield shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand, has now joined retailers Woolworths, Coles, Kmart and Target in signing up to the code and pledging prompt payment to its small business suppliers.

Scentre’s chief executive Peter Allen said he understands that many businesses rely on prompt payments for survival.

“As a vertically integrated business, managing planning, design, development and construction, through to curation of our retail, service and experience mix and day-to-day centre management, our supplier relationships span a cross-section of industries and are fundamental to our business operations,” Allen said.

“Signing the Code demonstrates our commitment to partnering with our small business suppliers for the long-term.”

Responding to concerns

Jennifer Westacott, chief executive of the Business Council of Australia (BCA), commented: “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. 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 code also encourages larger entities to assist small businesses in the implementation of new technology and best-practice payment methods to speed up invoicing.

The BCA reports that trade between the country’s small, medium and large businesses exceeds A$550 billion a year, and that all businesses benefit when a nation has a booming small business sector.

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