Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2228 ..
To ensure all of this assistance is as accessible as possible, the ACT government has proactively reached out to business and, as of 15 July, Access Canberra had undertaken 8,700 site visits and sent over 200,000 direct emails to businesses to assist them in complying with public health directions. Our government is and has been standing beside Canberra businesses and supporting them through this very challenging period during the pandemic.
As part of the ACT government’s support for businesses during COVID-19, we also announced that the standard payment time frame for suppliers to government would be reduced from 28 days to 14 days. Of course, where a supplier reaches an agreement that payments be made more frequently, payments are made in accordance with that agreement.
In addition to halving the processing times for a significant number of businesses, we have also seen steady progress on the percentage of invoices paid within standard time frames. Of course, the vast majority of the ACT’s invoice payment process is already automated. Not only are businesses getting paid faster, but an even larger number of businesses are receiving those payments within the government’s improved time frames. To be precise, 94 per cent of ACT government invoices are currently paid within 14 days.
It is also important to point out a number of key pieces of information which are not reflected in Mr Cain’s original motion. When it comes to the development of e-invoicing, we should acknowledge that a significant body of work has been undertaken at the commonwealth level by the Australian Taxation Office. The ATO has been consulting with state, territory and federal government departments to develop a statement of requirements for e-invoicing implementation. This is a process that the ACT government has actively engaged in. As the commonwealth begins to implement an e-invoicing process across their agencies, there will no doubt be lessons to be learned through that process which will be applicable and beneficial to the ACT when we come to look at e-invoicing. With this in mind, I will be moving an amendment to Mr Cain’s motion to reflect this commonwealth-led piece of work on e-invoicing.
While the ACT supports this e-invoicing initiative and continues to work with the commonwealth on it, it is prudent for us to monitor the implementation at the commonwealth level, which is yet to be finalised. There may be risks within that implementation; there are with any major IT implementation process. Apart from providing the certainty that Mr Cain is after, we are keen to reduce the risk as much as possible by seeing how it is implemented at the commonwealth level before we undertake it here in the ACT.
The ACT government is very supportive of reducing the processing costs and payment times for businesses, which is why we have already halved the standard payment times for invoices. We also support a reliable and automated system, which is already in place for much of the processing chain for invoices. There may be more work to do here, but we recognise the importance of working together with the commonwealth and the ATO to get this right. I move the following amendment: