Small businesses which helped protect regional Victorian towns have been left to bear the cost as the Andrews Labor Government delays paying its bills.
Despite promising to pay invoices from small businesses within 10 days, businesses in northern Victoria have been waiting more than 90 days for the State Government to pay bills of up to $100,000 – costs it incurred during the October 2022 flood response.
Questioned in Parliament today, Minister for Small Business, Natalie Suleyman, would not confirm if the Andrews Labor Government’s Fair Payment Policy of paying small businesses within 10 business days was still in place.
Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh, said small businesses cannot afford to chase debts as they continue to recover from the devastating floods.
“Although the water subsided months ago, our flood-affected communities are still recovering,” Mr Walsh said.
“To have the State Government delaying its payments to small businesses in those communities is putting additional and undue stress on business operators.
“The Minister for Small Business couldn’t even give Victorians a proper answer on whether or not the policy was still in place.”
Mr Walsh said the Government shouldn’t be playing politics with Victorians’ livelihoods.
“Our businesses need certainty, not more broken promises from a government that is out of touch with regional Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Andrews Labor Government must settle its bills with small businesses in the 10-day timeframe it committed to.”