Small business the focus of Australian talks

Efforts to progress a seamless trans-Tasman business environment will take another step at a ministerial roundtable meeting in Sydney tomorrow.

Small Business Minister Stuart Nash and Australian Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert will co-host a roundtable meeting of senior government and business leaders. The discussion will focus on ways to advance e-Invoicing and support faster payment times for small business.

“There is a clear opportunity to streamline business-to-business transactions both within New Zealand and in trans-Tasman commerce,” Mr Nash says.

“Every year Australian and New Zealand businesses process about 1.6 billion invoices, but those still using paper and email-based invoices are using labour-intensive systems that are prone to error and delay. Research indicates that the economic savings of e-Invoicing could exceed $30 billion across both countries over 10 years.

“We recognise the benefits of developing a trans-Tasman approach to enhance the direct electronic exchange of invoices between the accounting systems used by suppliers and buyers.

“The roundtable discussions will give both governments the opportunity to engage with business CEOs and industry and sector leaders on the progress being made. Regular engagements with our Australian partners are crucial to ensure that this joint initiative continues to progress.

“We will discuss achievements to date, the benefits of e-Invoicing for both economies and the role Government can play. We will also set out milestones and timeframes for further work and seek input and ideas from industry leaders about questions such as infrastructure, business readiness, international alignments, and any regulatory issues.

“Both Governments are committed to e-Invoicing. We’ll also highlight our intention to drive action that will ensure faster payment times for small businesses and the importance of establishing the right technological infrastructure.

“The New Zealand Government is committed to growing our economy and working with businesses to encourage productivity. The roundtable meeting on e-Invoicing is another step toward this. It continues the commitments made by both Prime Ministers at the trans-Tasman leaders’ meeting in March. The Single Economic Market agenda is about a seamless business environment through collaboration on key economic initiatives and co-ordination of regulatory measures,” says Mr Nash. 

Mr Nash and Mr Robert will be joined by Australian and New Zealand CEOs from industry bodies and software providers, and senior leaders from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Inland Revenue, the Australian Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office.

The e-Invoicing initiative was announced as part of Budget 2018 and the formal trans-Tasman e-Invoicing Arrangement was signed in October 2018. It formalises the commitment of both countries to work together on a framework to ensure inter-operability for e-Invoicing frameworks.

The roundtable discussion at Sydney’s Sofitel Hotel will involve about 30 participants including some who will take part via video link from Wellington. 

While in Sydney Mr Nash will also meet the New South Wales Commissioner of Police Mick Fuller for discussions around mutual cooperation on organised crime.