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Helping Australian small and family businesses thrive

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The Australian Government backs small and family businesses and is making it easier for them to invest, create jobs and grow the economy.

Our department is responsible for:

  • providing expert policy advice and programs to facilitate the growth of small and family businesses
  • engaging across government to highlight  issues affecting small and family businesses, and to ensure their needs are considered

Our work includes:

  • listening to small and family businesses to understand challenges and opportunities they face
  • gathering data and insights to inform evidence-based, integrated policy design across government
  • identifying opportunities to improve the operating environment for small businesses
  • enabling small and family businesses to thrive by providing the information, connections and support they need
  • being accountable for making real and measurable impacts for small and family businesses
  • enhancing Australia’s reputation for small and family business-friendly policies and programs

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Our department hosts the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO).

The Ombudsman:

  • is an independent advocate for small business owners offering advice and assistance to small business owners
  • has legislative powers to ensure Australian legislation and regulations help small businesses grow

Ensuring small businesses get paid on time

We’re committed to ensuring fairer and faster payment times for small businesses. Australian small businesses employ almost half of the Australian workforce. Reducing long (after 30 days) and late payment times to small business will help improve their cash flow and boost employment and wages.

The Australian Government is leading by example and has committed to paying invoices within 5 business days from 1 January 2020. This applies to instances where both entities have e-invoicing capability.

Payment times reporting 

The Payment Times Reporting Scheme will commence on 1 January 2021. The scheme aims to improve payment times for Australian small businesses. Our department will administer the scheme under the Payment Times Reporting Bill 2020.

The scheme affects large businesses and large government enterprises with a total annual income of over $100 million. Once the scheme commences, they must report their small business payment terms and times. The Australian Government will publish the reports twice a year on a public register. 

The scheme aims to:

  • increase transparency around large business’ payment performance, to help small businesses decide who to do business with 
  • create incentives for large businesses to improve their payment times and practices

We’re developing a reporting system to assist businesses to meet the scheme’s reporting requirements. We will contact businesses before the end of 2020 with details about how to meet the reporting requirements.

The Prime Minister announced a Payment Times Reporting Framework on 21 November 2018. The Bill to establish the Payment Times Reporting Scheme passed the Senate on 3 September 2020.

See how we consulted with small and large business, and industry, to design and develop the scheme


Annual pay on-time survey

Each year we conduct a Pay on-time survey to collect information about agency performance against the Department of Finance’s Supplier pay on-time or pay interest policy.

Read survey results:

Access previous reports on the Treasury website.

Improving the franchising sector

Our department’s responsible for ensuring franchising policy is fit for purpose, and the sector operates fairly and efficiently.

Read more about our role in improving Australia’s franchising sector.

Employing Your First Person Taskforce

Employing Your First Person is a cross-agency taskforce that aims to make it easier for sole traders and microbusinesses employing people for the first time. A key focus will be streamlining employing processes.

Supporting small business owners’ wellbeing

The Australian Government is investing in tools and resources to support small business owners’ wellbeing. Read the Small business working group report 2019.

Building small business digital capability

Digital technology can help businesses:

  • deliver products and services faster
  • respond to changing consumer demands
  • welcome new customers locally and internationally who want to buy online

It also enables business continuity as an extra layer of security if external factors affect your small business

Digital advice services

Australian small business advisory services (ASBAS) digital solutions provides low cost, high-quality digital advice to help small businesses grow their capabilities. Read about ASBAS digital solutions on the website.

Digital champions project

Digitally engaged small businesses are more likely to increase their revenue and create new jobs. We administer the Small business digital champions project to support small businesses to operate in the digital economy. Learn more about the small businesses who received digital advice and funding to transform their business operations on the website.

We’re also funding 15 industry associations to deliver a trusted digital advisory service, providing free sector-specific digital advice to their small business members. In response to COVID-19, industry associations have expanded their service to provide general business advice to further assist impacted small businesses. Read about how industry associations are assisting small businesses on the website.

International councils and committees

Australia is a member of the:

Read more

The website provides small business advice and services from across all levels of government.

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Last updated: 7 September 2020

Content ID: 67090