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Australian Government to Set Aside Millions for Cybersecurity, Faster Payment Times

Although the implementation of enhanced cybersecurity and faster supplier payment solutions come at a hefty cost to small businesses, the Australian government is not shying away from technological advancements after announcing its plans to invest nearly $13 million during its mid-year financial outlook and budget.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported the government's investment plans on Dec. 17, which allocates $8.2 million to cybersecurity. Funds will assist in creating a website for businesses to report cybercrime. Additionally, more than $3.5 million will create and fund a nongovernment organization that will help small businesses through their digital transition, while another million will improve small business payment times using a five-day payment policy between government and businesses that use e-invoicing.

Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell told SMH about the "game-changing" qualities of a five-day policy.

"That would be a great incentive for businesses to digitize ... if they move to e-invoicing, they will get paid really quickly," Carnell said in the article.

According to FCIB's International Credit and Collections survey for Australia in June 2018, payment delays have been relatively stable over the past year and a half. About one-third of respondents said payment delays were related to billing disputes; however, a quarter said they experienced delays because of the customer payment policy.

"[The] customer didn't account for bank processing times," a respondent said. Another respondent noted there were "no real issues in Australia" as it is a stable country with customers that "pay well."

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate

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Friday, 18 January 2019