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14 June 2019

Ombudsman welcomes new tax rules for government tender bids

New rules requiring companies to prove they have a clean tax record when tendering for major government contracts is a welcome improvement, but more needs to be done to assist and protect small businesses subcontracted to these projects, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says.

From July 1, businesses tendering for Commonwealth contracts over $4 million will need to provide a statement from the ATO proving they have a satisfactory tax record.

“This is an important step to ensure businesses tendering for government projects are up-to-date with tax payments,” Ms Carnell says.

“It provides small businesses, particularly subcontractors who work further down the supply chain, with some security, but certainly more can be done in the procurement space.

“Small businesses rely on contracts being awarded to businesses that operate in a fair and sustainable manner.

 “The government should also require that tenderers use contracts with subcontractors that comply with unfair contract terms legislation and that all subcontractors are paid on time.

“If businesses do not comply, they should be banned from future tendering for a period of time.

“I will continue to argue the case for a level playing field and the need to give small business a fair go in the procurement process.”