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Manufacturing industry the worst for late payments

The Australian Small Business Ombudsman welcomed the launch of the Payment Times Reports Register, which reveals the extent of late payments by big business to smaller companies.


"The manufacturing industry has the most work to do in terms of lifting its average standard payment terms of 50 days,” said Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson.

“We welcome the Payment Times Reports Register, which reveals the payment policies of more than 6,000 businesses. It’s an important first step in addressing late payments, which continues to be a huge issue for small businesses. While it’s still early days, the register reveals that more than 30% of invoices are being paid late by big business for what has already been earned by small business. That’s incredibly disappointing.

“According to the register, average payment terms are sitting at 37 days – when 30 days is the maximum time any small business should be waiting for their invoice to be paid and some leading larger businesses are committing to pay small business suppliers within a week.”

Billson said that while the manufacturing industry had the longest average payment terms, the media and telecoms industry was among the best performers, pledging to pay their suppliers within 25 days on average. 

The new online Payment Times Reports Register publishes information about the payment policies of businesses with a turnover of more than $100 million.

“My office will be keeping an eye on future reports to gauge trends and do what we can to ensure big businesses are living up to the information provided on the register," said Billson. "In the meantime, I encourage small businesses to engage with the register and make informed choices about who they do business with.

payment times“Given much of the Australian small business community has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompt payment times are critical. Big business has a role to play in the nation’s recovery and that starts with paying their small business suppliers on time. Adopting e-invoicing is a great way to ensure suppliers are paid promptly. Good business pays.

“Ultimately, cash flow is king for small and family businesses and if they are paid on time, the whole economy benefits.”

The Payment Times Reports Register is available at