Master Builders’ national office has lodged a submission with the Department of Jobs and Small Business providing feedback about its proposed approach to establishing the Payment Times Reporting Framework, following its announcement in late 2018.

The Framework will require large businesses with a turnover of $100m or greater to lodge reports with Government regarding payment times to small business. During the announcement, the Prime Minister stated the framework would “help cash flow for small business” and would be “implemented with minimal compliance burdens” for the 3000 or so large companies it seeks to cover.

The MBA submission pointed out to Government that businesses in our sector are already subject to a plethora of similar reporting regimes, which can, in some cases, already require reporting about subcontractor payments under seven different schemes – all purporting to fix the same or similar problem. Worryingly, sections of the Department’s discussion paper appeared to be unaware of all the current schemes which our sector faces every day.

We also warned about the need to create even more regulators, and cautioned strongly against attempts to use the framework for collecting unrelated information in an effort to “increase visibility” for entities that included “other interested [and unnamed] stakeholders”. 

In preparing the submission, we were fortunate to have ready access to several National Board Members and policy committees who are always ready to provide practical ‘real world’ views and feedback – including several examples that were crucial in shaping the submission. 

This help was a positive reminder that the best way to make things work, or to stop things from being a red-tape waste of time, is to talk with those who will actually be affected – a message we regularly tell politicians and law-makers. This has always been true but, with a looming election and a trend of politicians wanting to spot and fill “regulatory gaps” it’s perhaps more important now than ever.