SA Labor Government owes more than $300 million in outstanding debts past 90 days

February 06, 2018

The Australian Conservatives are calling out Jay Weatherill’s Labor Government over unpaid bills which have gone past the 90 days overdue mark.

Australian Conservatives South Australian leader and Upper House MLC Dennis Hood has told radio station FIVEaa, “It’s a very serious situation. I had a public servant approach me who’d discovered their own department was in excess of 90 days in payments overdue for tens of millions of dollars, just their department.

“They did what any decent employee would do and reported that up the chain, and then were called into a high-level meeting, with some very senior Treasury officials who confirmed their suspicions that more than $300 million was past the 90 days overdue mark.

Mr Hood said the really significant thing was the individual was told, "We’ll get around to paying these bills when we get to them. There was no urgency to reduce the debt. The public servant was saying we need to pay these businesses because businesses need to be paid. Cash-flow is king, particularly in small and medium businesses."

Mr Hood said it was pretty extraordinary to think that a State government would have such tardy payment practices.

"The impact is very significant. I mean, $300 million in an economy the size of South Australia will have very significant impacts not only on those businesses, but on the businesses they need to pay as well; it just goes down the chain.

“There needs to be a cultural reform, that is, as government we need pay our bills where possible within 30 days and … the only way to genuinely fix that will be legislation which we’re looking at right now.” Mr Hood said.

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