When an issue you have a strong opinion about is being discussed on TV, you wave your finger at the screen and (loudly) tell anyone who will listen what your opinion is.

Except nobody can hear you. Only your long-suffering family.

If you happen to be a regional business that supplies to the mining industry, one of those issues will be how long it takes you to get paid. It’s also a safe bet that you have an opinion on several other topics relating to mining companies and their interactions with small business.

·         Inflexible systems?

·         Contract cancellation clauses?

·         Contract liability clauses?

·         Tender processes?

·         Inflexible systems?

·         Procurement policies?

·         Cumulative impact?

·         Economic impacts

Well, you now have an opportunity to actually be heard by someone other than your partner, children and pets.

The Federal Government has started a Parliamentary Inquiry into:

“…how the mining sector can support businesses in regional economies”.

The big-ticket item is clearly going to be Payment Times. Not being paid for your goods and services for 90 days or more can have disastrous consequences for small businesses.

Just like the Banking Royal Commission, I’m sure there will be some not-very-nice stories come out, but if regional businesses don’t put submissions in, nothing can happen. At the very least, the views and case studies from regional businesses will be documented.

Submissions don’t have to be lengthy. Just a few paragraphs or bullet points will help to paint the picture.

If you could spread the word amongst your network it would be very helpful.

The Terms of Reference

“Terms of Reference” is just a fancy way of saying what the Inquiry will be looking at. I’ve copied and pasted them here.

“The committee will inquire into how the development of the mining sector can support businesses in regional economies.

The inquiry will consider questions including:

  • The appropriateness of the payment terms offered to businesses by the mining sector;
  • Best practices between the mining sector and businesses, especially in regards to how they can support regional communities and economies;
  • Barriers to the greater use of regional businesses in the procurement of services by the mining sector;
  • Building the skills and expertise of businesses to leverage opportunities in the mining sector;
  • Opportunities for businesses to diversify to other markets; including the mining industry in Australia and overseas, and across different industries;
  • The role of mining equipment, technology and services ( METS) organisations in R&D and innovation and how payment terms impact on companies’ ability to invest in these areas;
  • How the Federal Government can support businesses in regional economies benefit from mining development;
  • How royalties are shared between landholders on gas fields and State and Territory Governments; and
  • Any other related matter.

When undertaking this Inquiry the Committee should have regard to:

  • How relationships between mining and businesses differ between jurisdictions and in overseas countries; and
  • The policies of State and Territory Governments in regards to mining procurement.”

Note that there is one bullet point about how the Federal Government can help as well.

Over to you …
You have until August 10th to gather your thoughts and stories about the interactions between mining companies and your business.  What has affected you? How has it affected you? What should be done differently?

You’ve been practising in front of the TV for years, so now is the time to act.

Have Your Say

Tell Your Story

Make A Submission

Bronwyn Reid | 10 May 2017

 

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