You may get behind with paying your business suppliers because of the bushfires. 


Is your business still viable?

Can your business recover?

You may need to work out whether your business is still viable. You can do this by:

Can’t pay my business suppliers

Step 1 Work out what you can afford to pay

If you’re struggling to pay your suppliers, the first thing to do is work out what, if anything, you can actually afford to pay.

If you can afford to pay something

Start paying the amount you can afford and contact your supplier to make a repayment arrangement.

If you can’t afford to pay anything

Call us for advice on 1800 413 828.

Can your business recover? Will you need to close?

  1. If you need help to work out if your business can recover, speak to your accountant or use the Australian Taxation Office’s business viability assessment tool
  2. If you are considering closing your business, your approach to debt payments may change. Get advice on the best plan for your business

If you are a company you must not trade while insolvent. If you are unsure get legal advice and/or advice from your accountant

Step 2 Contact your supplier

Maintaining your relationship with your suppliers is usually a critical part of running your business. Calling your supplier as soon as you can to explain how you have been affected by the bushfires is important. Your supplier may offer you time to pay or work with you to negotiate an arrangement that works for both of you.


  • Check contracts and invoices from your supplier that cover how long you have to pay

  • Keep details of your contact with your suppliers and details of what was discussed and/or agreed

  • Ask that your supplier not commence enforcement action or that they at least give you notice

  • Be realistic about what your business can afford to pay

  • If there are late fees or interest charged for late payments, ask if these can be waived given your circumstances

Step 3 Consider cancelling any supply orders

If demand has reduced or your business is not operating, check if you can cancel orders for supplies you no longer need.

Step 4 If you make a repayment arrangement stick to it

If you offer to pay any invoices in instalments and the supplier agrees, do your best to stick to the payments.

  • Make the agreed payments on the agreed dates
  • If you start struggling to make the payments, contact the supplier again to talk about your situation and ask for more time to pay
  • If they refuse to offer you more time, call us for advice on 1800 413 828.

Step 5 If you still have a dispute with your supplier you may be able to get help to negotiate or mediate

There are government services that may be able to assist you to negotiate with your supplier. Some of these services also provide a low-cost mediation service. They are:

NSW: Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner

VIC: Victorian Small Business Commission

QLD: Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO)

SA: Office of the South Australian Small Business Commissioner

WA: Western Australian Small Business Development Corporation

NT: Northern Territory Consumer Affairs

ACT: Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO)

TAS: Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO)

Step 6 Speak to one of our financial counsellors

IIf your problem still hasn’t been solved, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, call us on 1800 413 828 to speak with one of our small business financial counsellors.

Warning: This is for information only. Do not rely on it as legal advice. It is recommended that you seek specific advice on your own situation.