Delivering faster payments for small business
The Nationals-Liberal Government will ensure small businesses providing goods and services to the Government will receive faster payments.
The Government will now be required to pay invoices for contracts worth up to $1 million within 20 calendar days, an improvement from the current policy of 30 days. This will put money back in the pockets of small business, helping them invest, grow and employ more workers.
It is a major win for the 6,800 Australian small businesses that work with the Commonwealth.
This announcement is part of the response to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s report into payment times and practices. It demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to small business, the engine room of employment in Australia.
The Government is already a proud leader in terms of payment times and practices, with the latest Pay On-Time survey showing Commonwealth agencies paid 97 per cent of their invoices within 30 days.
Digital technologies are also assisting small businesses in managing their business, streamlining administrative tasks and facilitating faster payments, while the Government has been actively engaging with the industry-led Digital Business Council development of e-invoicing.
Record investment into research for cardiovascular disease
The Coalition Government will invest a record $24 million to support landmark research into cardiovascular disease by The George Institute for Global Health.
With 4.2 million Australian adults having a disease of the circulatory system, including 1.2 million with cardiovascular conditions such as stroke and heart disease, research investment is critical.
This is the National Health and Medical Research Council’s third largest grant for medical research in Australia and the largest investment in research on cardiovascular disease – a disease which many Australians do not know they have.
Cardiovascular disease is a collective term for diseases of the heart and blood vessels. The term commonly includes diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke.
A national food waste strategy
The Coalition Government is delivering on its election commitment to develop a National Food Waste Strategy and convene a National Food Waste Summit. The strategy – launched at the inaugural summit in Melbourne – provides a framework to support collective action towards halving Australia’s food waste by 2030.
The first steps on our collective journey will be supported by an initial funding commitment of $1.37 million over 24 months.
Food waste has environmental, economic and social implications for all Australians. The estimated cost of food waste to the Australian economy is $20 billion per year. Of the food waste disposed in landfill in 2014-15, 7.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent will be released over the life of its decay.
Although we produce enough food to feed about 60 million people, one food rescue organisation is turning away over 65,000 people each month.
By late 2018, Food Innovation Australia Limited will deliver the plan for the strategy that sets out short, medium and long-term actions. The industry voluntary commitment program will be in place by early 2019.
The Coalition Government has also committed a further $370,000 through its National Environment Science Program for two research projects to support the strategy. Of this, $200,000 will support research to establish the National Food Waste Baseline and develop an approach for the measurement of progress against the 50 per cent reduction target. The remaining $170,000 will identify the highest value return on investment opportunities in food waste for business, community organisations and governments.
Beware of pre-Christmas payment surcharge rip-off
The Coalition Government has put businesses on notice ahead of the Christmas shopping period, as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) cracks down on excessive payment surcharging.
The ACCC has issued its first formal infringement notices under the new excessive payment surcharging provisions legislated by the Turnbull Government to better protect consumers. A large merchant has been issued with four infringement notices and has paid $43,200 in penalties.
Importantly, this is only the beginning. More companies are expected to be issued with notices in the coming weeks in what will be a significant wake-up call for merchants.
The Government won’t allow Australians to be ripped off when they make purchases with their cards. We’ve empowered the ACCC as enforcers of our ban on excessive surcharging and today’s announcement shows that businesses need to take this seriously.
Under the rules, which came into force on September 1, the surcharge on card purchases now has to reflect the true cost of the transaction to the merchant, not an artificially inflated sum designed to profit gouge.
If people think they are being hit with an excessive surcharge when they go to the shops, buy tickets online or book a holiday, they should not hesitate to contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.