The Victorian Government will pump billions of dollars into the economy to help Victorian businesses and workers survive the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas announced a $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package, which has been developed following discussions at National Cabinet and complements the work of the Federal Government.
As part of the package, the Government will provide full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million – giving $550 million back to businesses who need it. Payments will start flowing next week and will save eligible business up to $113,975 a year, with businesses saving an average of $23,000. These businesses employ around 400,000 workers. This assistance is a refund, not a loan. The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021, freeing up a further $83 million in cashflow.
Supplier invoices to be paid quickly, business support fund established
In a series of additional measures designed to alleviate the financial pressures now facing Victorian businesses, the state government also said:
It will allow commercial tenants in government buildings to apply for rent relief;
Eligible businesses will have their 2020 land tax payments deferred;
The government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days; and
Liquor licensing fees will be waived for 2020 for affected businesses.
Businesses in the hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts, entertainment and retail sectors may also receive additional assistance through a new business support fund to be established by the Victorian government.
While details are yet to be released about what kinds of financial support will be made possible through this fund, the government said it will be administered in partnership with the Australian Industry Group, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Hotels Association. The government said the fund will support businesses that may not be eligible for payroll tax refunds because their payrolls exceed $3 million.
The government will also provide $500 million to establish a Business Support Fund. The fund will support the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail. The Government will work with the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Ai Group to administer the fund, which will help these businesses – which may not be eligible for payroll tax refunds due to their size – survive and keep people in work.
Businesses can register their interest in the fund by filling out this online form.
The comprehensive package announced has been developed to support small and medium sized businesses, and the Government is asking businesses to do whatever they can to support their workers.
The Government will continue to work closely with business and unions, and will announce further support over the coming weeks and months, in consultation with the Commonwealth, as the impacts of the coronavirus continue to evolve.