Stacey Quinn and Mark Bushell, of CE Smith & Co Accountants Mackay, have made a submission to the Federal 'Inquiry into how the mining sector can support businesses in regional economies'.
Stacey Quinn and Mark Bushell, of CE Smith & Co Accountants Mackay, have made a submission to the Federal 'Inquiry into how the mining sector can support businesses in regional economies'. Navarone Farrell

Accountancy firm backs inquiry into the mining sector

CIVIC-MINDED accountants have added their voices to the choir singing to revert payment terms in the mining services sector to 30 days.

Mark Bushell and Stacey Quinn from CE Smith & Co Accountants Mackay, a community stalwart for the past 80 years, have made a submission to the federal 'Inquiry into how the mining sector can support businesses in regional economies'.

The pair concurs that clients, ranging from large to small, have all flagged their frustration with the extended payment terms, a throwback to the mining downturn.

However, with the economic turnaround and the global stabilisation of coal prices, they believe now is the time to return to normal, echoing a submission by the Resource Industry Network.

"We're a chartered firm that's been around for more than 80 years, our client base is pretty varied, we deal from mining services down to the little guy on the street, the mower man, it's pretty broad, small to large," Mr Bushell said.

He highlighted that the company sees a "unique perspective" on how the matters influence a broad section of the community, and the flow-on effects from extended payment terms.

"It flows down to the hairdresser ... we've had a bit of feedback from clients, real life stories, obviously the payment terms aren't 30 days, they're stretched quite a bit, some are up to 120," he said.

Mr Bushell lamented the fact more mining businesses are not based out of Mackay, which also adds to the paperwork involved in payment deadlines.

"Then there can be issues about where approval is done, if approval is done on site or in the head office," he said.

"That's another thing companies could do, base (their offices here). We're a hub for the Bowen Basin, therei s no reason why these companies shouldn't have a bigger presence here."

Ms Quinn said among their concerns were clients relying on debtor financing from banks and the broader terms of the inquiry. "The people that are benefiting the most are effectively the banks because our clients have to reply on their funding products," she said.

"Anecdotally, I think the clients that rely on debtor financing, the figures are astronomical, so if there's anything that can be done to cut that, that money can go towards employment, growth, research and development.

"We've come off the back of a real downturn where the economy here was in a real struggle. We had issues with our housing and high rental vacancy rates - the council and business services groups have done a wonderful job bringing everyone together.

"The movements with #mackaypride, buying local and building up our local voice again, something (like our submission is) an easy way we can keep driving and progressing our local region. It's just changing a basic term and condition that could add so much value to our region."

CE Smith & Co Accountants will be one of many Mackay groups represented at a public hearing of the inquiry at CQUniversity's Mackay City campus on August 30, which will also feature Mackay and Isaac regional councils, Mackay Chamber of Commerce, C-Res, BHP, RIN and GW3.



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