Big businesses shouldn’t use COVID-19 as “excuse” not to pay

Kate Carnell, Small Business Ombudsman, says big businesses can't use COVID-19 as excuse

Kate Carnell, Small Business Ombudsman


By Loren Webb

Small businesses are pleading to be paid on time, with Ombudsman Kate Carnell urging big businesses not to use the COVID-19 economic downturn as an excuse not to pay up.

The reports of big businesses using COVID-19 as an excuse to delay payments to their small business suppliers is disappointing.

“Now is the time for big businesses to do the right thing and be a part of the solution in this very difficult period,” Ms Carnell says.

“Cash flow is always king for small businesses and never more so than now, particularly for small businesses struggling with the ripple-effects of coronavirus.


“That’s why it’s so important for big businesses to step up and pay on time or reduce payment times.

“We know that by paying small businesses on time, the whole economy benefits.

“Both our Payment Times Inquiry and our Insolvency Practices Inquiry show that cash flow is the leading cause of insolvency.

“It’s been so encouraging to see some big Australian businesses such as Telstra, BHP, Rio Tinto and more recently Woolworths, commit to faster payment times and there’s no reason why others can’t adopt the same practices.

“Any small business experiencing issues with payment times are encouraged to contact my office for assistance.”

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