Each year local governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing goods and services. To assist the continued viability of businesses in Western Australia and to help small businesses in particular to manage cash flow and administrative costs, it is important that local governments make timely payments to suppliers. In some instances, slow payments may impact the ability of suppliers to meet subsequent orders.
Due to the variety of factors affecting the circumstances under which local governments and their suppliers operate, we did not expect to find identical payment practices across the local governments included in our audit. Local government regulations do not specify payment timeframes and during this audit we have not regarded a particular payment period as the ideal. Rather, we have had regard mainly to the policies and practices of the sampled local governments and the payment terms of their suppliers. This audit therefore required significant judgement when identifying and investigating the timeliness of payments.