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Late Government Payments to Businesses

Radio News Broadcasts

John Darley, MLC & Leader, Advance SA (5AA 10.14-10.18) Late payments to businesses from Government

(Byner: Leader of Advance SA is John Darley … this is not the first time this has happened but it’s ballooning out again, all this money being owed.) Exactly … I’m on the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament … when departments come in to us I have been in the past in the habit of asking them how many bills do they have outstanding more than 30 days … amazingly enough the answer is none … I think Kate Carnell’s idea is a brilliant one, ordinary Members of Parliament can’t put up a money bill that would cover this situation, but the thought that John Chapman, the Commissioner for Small Business, he could put a proposal to the Government … he should do that along the lines that Kate Carnell has mentioned, but in addition we should adopt the same approach that Government approaches to people that owe them money … there should be a mandatory late fee payment and if it’s not paid interest would automatically accrue. (Byner: Yeah, you’ve got to ask for it and people don’t and the Government have said, ‘oh they don’t because they’re happy’. No, they don’t because they’re afraid of being bullied … what can we do about this … because it’s just not acceptable?) … I’ll have a talk to John Chapman … and suggest to him that he should talk to Kate Carnell about this and actually get the wheels moving. (Byner: I reckon if we had mandatory payments of interest all of a sudden Treasury would be a little more looser with their purse. If they owe the money they should damn well pay it … what else goes on, and this happens and I’ve heard this from a number of sources that when somebody tells a department, ‘you owe this and until such time as you settle this debt or give me part payment I can’t provide you’, they go to another provider and open up an account and get credit there. Are we that desperate, we’re not broke are we, we’ve got money haven’t we?) … there’s money rolling in that’s for sure … at least the Government should do what every person in South Australia does, pay their bills. (Byner: Alright, so if people have got a fair bit outstanding … there’s no question about whether the service was delivered or whatever, then what should they do, go to John Chapman?) Absolutely … I’ll talk to John Chapman this week. (Byner: Alright … thanks John … this is a really important story because it’s about jobs … if you work in a business and they don’t get paid for their work and they have to go out and get a bridging loan that’s not fair … I don’t know whether there is a deliberate withholding of this money … but I can remember when Michael O’Brien was the Minister this nonsense went on and he said he was going to convince public servants, give them some training about how important it is to pay bills … obviously that training has been forgotten or maybe the people concerned who were trained have moved on but this is not a good look … the Crown is supposed to be the model citizen … again, they’ll tell you that you must do this … you got your ESL bill and if you don’t pay it on time there’s a warning that comes with it … they’ll never make their rules reciprocal to you and me but the least they can do is follow the lead of the Feds, 15 business days … that’s a lot better than 90.)