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Labor promises to tighten up payment terms for operators

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Labor has strengthened its bid to land the trucking industry vote at the federal election on May 21 with a promise to ensure small business invoices are paid within 30 days.

Deputy opposition leader and shadow small business minister Richard Marles has also pledged to reduce small business transaction costs at the point of payment with a clear timeline for implementing ‘least cost routing’.

This could save businesses up to $804 million a year in merchant fees.

The National Road Transport Association CEO Warren Clark said his association has been pursuing 30-day invoices for decades and would continue to push for them to become law.

“Along with the unfair contract legislation that almost made it through the Parliament last month, this is one of the holy grails for operators in our sector,” said Clark.

“Cash flow really is king for NatRoad members who are running on wafer thin profit margins of about 2.5 per cent.”

In its recent response to a Senate inquiry into the road transport industry, the Coalition said it’s already doing enough to ensure trucking operators are being paid on time and rejected the Senate committe’s recommendation that an independent body be set up to set binding standards with respect to pay.

The government said the Payment Times Reporting Scheme introduced on January 1, 2021, “improves payment outcomes for small businesses by creating transparency around the payment practices from large businesses to small business suppliers”.

Another policy introduced on July 1 last year requires big businesses on government contracts to pay their subbies within 20 calendar days, or pay interest.

Earlier last week, Labor pledged to invest $80 million to build more rest areas for truckies if elected next month.

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