State and Territory economic updates

 

 

State & Territory economic updates

Fiscal announcements by State and Territory as a consequence of COVID-19 health crisis.

2020-03-20

Updated 29 June 2020.

Various State and Territory Governments have been announcing economic stimulus packages in response to the economic status resulting from the COVID-19 health crisis.

In an environment where a cash splurge alone is unlikely to create the necessary stimulus, much of the economic stimulus measures go to addressing the primary business need of requiring support with respect to retention of staff (notwithstanding that this may be in a period of reduced hours).

Click here to view our expert's breakdown of the State and Territory Governments' Mandatory Code of Conduct commercial rent relief.

Click here to view our summary of the State and Territory Governments' residential rent relief.

Click here to view our dedicated page on the State and Territory Governments' tax relief for landlords.

Click here to view the State and Territory Governments' payroll tax relief concessions summarised by our experts.

Click below to select a State or Territories update:

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT government announced the following stimulus measures:

Payroll tax and grants

ACT Government's payroll tax relief concessions.

Other fees and taxes

  • Licensed venues will receive a 12-month waiver of their food business registration and on-licence liquor licencing fees from 1 April 2020 and outdoor dining fees for 2020-2021 will be waived. In cases where food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the license

  • Small business owners with electricity usage below 100 megawatts per year will see rebates of $750 automatically applied to their next electricity bill in around June or July 2020

  • The Rideshare vehicle licence fee will be waived for 12 months for Rideshare operators from 1 April 2020 as part of the normal licencing processes. In cases where licences have already been prepaid 12 months in advance, an additional 12 months credit will be added to the license at the next due date. The ACT Government will also waive all government leased taxi plate fees, including wheelchair accessible taxis to help support this vital service

  • Commercial property owners with an Average Unimproved Value below $2 million on their property are eligible for a rebate on their commercial rates fixed charge

  • A one-off payment of up to $5,000 to tax drivers who lease their taxi plates from private owners

  • Deferral of the issue of quarter four commercial rates instalment notices by four weeks

  • The ACT government will also reduce pressure on household budgets by:

    • applying a $150 rebate to the fixed charge component of all residential rates bills in 2020 21

    • freezing the Fire and Emergency Services Levy in 2020-21 at the current 2019-20 level

    • freezing all 2020-21 vehicle registration, parking and public transport fee increases at the current 2019-20 levels

    • providing an additional $200 rebate through their electricity bill to households receiving the Utilities Concession

    • Government will share the cost reduction of rental, capped at $1,300 per quarter , to encourage landlords to reduce rentals by at least 25% for tenants under financial stress

    • delay the issue of rates notices by 4 weeks as well as allow those under financial stress to defer rates payments by 12 months, with no interest incurred on the deferral.

Industry specific and financial support

  • The ACT Government is providing support for the Vocational Education and Training Sector by increasing subsidies for apprenticeships and trainee ships and other VET students to access nationally recognised training in areas linked to skills needs across a range of industries

  • An additional payment of $1.5 million will be made, as well as the existing $1.8 million in the Clubs Diversification Fund freed up to support clubs to keep staff employed at the award rate

  • A $20m Jobs for Canberrans Fund has been implemented, which will provide work opportunities for people in the casual or semi-skilled workforce who have lost their jobs or have been significantly impacted due to COVID-19.

Commercial stimulus

  • Hospitality (cafes, pubs, hotels, clubs and restaurants), creative arts and entertainment industries will receive a one-off, six-month waiver of payroll tax from April to September 2020

  • All ACT businesses with Group Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022

Community stimulus

Infrastructure

The ACT Government is providing $20 million to fast track infrastructure projects and maintenance on government-owned community, school and other buildings as well as suburb maintenance. The program will focus on: works that can start immediately, be undertaken using local suppliers and workers, and meet social distancing requirements. This fund will be utilised this financial year.

The Government will provide more funding for the removal of dead trees, planting of new trees and maintenance of surrounding areas to redeploy existing government contractors impacted by event cancellations.

Community support

The ACT Government will work with non-government organisation partners to develop a $7 million Community Support Package to best meet increased service demand for emergency relief. This package will provide food relief and support for vulnerable members of our community.

The ACT Government has re-prioritised funding to provide an additional $100,000 to Lifeline Canberra to increase their capacity to undertake their important work in supporting our community. This funding will enable them to answer an additional 1000 calls each month, over the next six months, supporting our community at this challenging time.

Social housing

Housing ACT will make a one-off bank payment of $250 to all social housing households by June 2020. This includes both public housing and community housing households that pay rent based on their income. This payment is to relieve some of the financial pressure that may be felt by those most vulnerable in our community during this time. This initiative is in addition to the Australian Government’s one-off payment of $750 to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.

Art development

Artists may be eligible to receive funding of up to $10,000 to support arts development and the sustainability of arts practice over the next six to nine months through a $500,000 grants program. This may include the development of works to be exhibited or performed into the future, research and development, making new works or sharing of works through online platforms.

Recovery Plan to support local jobs

As part of Canberra's Recovery Plan to support local jobs, the ACT will significantly reduce the stamp duty for eventual owner-occupiers on the purchase of:

  • New land single residential blocks to zero

  • Off-the-plan apartment and townhouse* purchases up to $500,000 to zero

  • Off-the-plan apartment and townhouse* purchases between $500,000 and $750,000 by $11,400.

This initiative will encourage growth in the residential property construction sector to create and support jobs. This stamp duty concession will be in place for any purchase (i.e. contracts exchanged) in the ACT from 4 June 2020 until 30 June 2021. Contracts exchanged outside of this period are not eligible for the concession. This concession will only apply for eventual owner occupiers. The Government will also extend the Pensioner Duty Concession Scheme for one year. This scheme provides a full or partial stamp duty concession to pensioners purchasing a property valued below the median property value. Stamp duty deferrals will also be extended to all pensioners, regardless of property value.

ACT Government's Mandatory Code of Conduct rent relief.

ACT Government's residential rent relief.

ACT Government's tax relief for landlords.

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New South Wales

Grants

The NSW Government has announced a $750m Small Business Support Fund to enable small businesses across the State receive grants of up to $10,000.

To be eligible, businesses will need to:

  • have between 1-19 employees and a turnover of more than $75,000

  • a payroll below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000

  • have an Australian Business Number as at 1 March 2020, be based in NSW and employ staff as at 1 March 2020

  • be highly impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions

  • use the funding for unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice

  • provide appropriate documentation upon application.

Applications for a small business grant of up to $10,000 will be available through Service NSW within a fortnight and remain open until 1 June 2020.

Small business recovery grant

The NSW Government has announced a small business recovery grant of between $500 and $3,000, which is targeted at helping small businesses meet the costs of safely reopening or up-scaling operations. The grant is subject to eligible expenses made from 1 July 2020 and only where no other government support is available. Applications open on 1 July 2020 and close on 16 August 2020.

Other fees and taxes

  • It will waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses (including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies)

  • Deferral of gaming tax and lotteries tax as well as parking space levies for six months

  • Local councils are empowered to delay 2020-2021 first quarter rates collections and immediately waive/reduce service fees.

Industry specific and financial support

  • It will spend $250m to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure and $250m to bring forward maintenance on public assets as well as a further $500m to bring forward other capital works and maintenance

  • It will provide an extra $700m funding boost to NSW Health to support various activities directly referable to COVID-19

  • $1 billion Working for NSW Fund created to sustain business, create new jobs and retrain staff - it has already been used to hire Service NSW staff and additional cleaning services

  • Increased funding for support with regards to homelessness, energy account assistance and charities including Lifeline

  • A $395m fund has been established which is targeted at local councils which includes a job retention allowance of $1,500 each per fortnight

  • The Government has also increased the funding to its emergency support Energy Accounts Payment Assistance Scheme, designed to assist households struggling to pay their energy bills during COVID-19.

Rescue and Restart package

The NSW Government has announced a $50 million rescue and restart package for NSW arts and cultural organisations. The Rescue and Restart package will be delivered in stages: 

  1. Funding available now to enable organisations to "hibernate temporarily"

  2. Funding available in the coming months to enable organisations to restart operations after the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSW Government's Mandatory Code of Conduct rent relief.

NSW Government's residential rent relief.

NSW Government's tax relief for landlords.

NSW Government's payroll tax relief concessions.

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Northern Territory

The Northern Territory’s jobs rescue and recovery plan is aimed at bringing in customers to small businesses and assisting staff to keep their jobs, and is as follows:

Grants

  • A $200,000 grant program is available to eligible tourism operators to ensure they are able to survive the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Sporting and active recreation organisations as well as regional councils are encouraged to apply for the second expedited grant round of the Government's $1.3 million Sport and Active Recreation Sector Immediate Response and Resilience Package.

Business Improvement Grant 

This is aimed at helping businesses get customers back into premises by undertaking improvements to a NT business. All eligible businesses will receive $10,000. If the recipient also wants to put in their own $10,000, they will then get an additional $10,000 from the Government. This can create a $30,000 cash pool to spend on upgrades and purchases from other businesses operating NT. This could include buying new equipment, new shop fit-outs and physical changes to attract customers.

Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Businesses can apply for a grant from 13 April 2020.
Find out more about the Business Improvement Grant on the Business Recovery website.

Small Business Survival Fund - $50 million

The fund will deliver grants to help keep businesses alive, even when they have to shut.

The fund has three goals:

  • Help local businesses survive through the partial or full shut-down period. For example, support in meeting unavoidable fixed costs.

  • Help local businesses adjust and adapt to take advantage of the new consumer environment. For example, expanding online services, takeaway and delivery.

  • Prepare local businesses to take advantage of the rebounding economy when the COVID-19 crisis is over. For example, upgrading premises or upskilling staff.

All eligible businesses will receive:

  • Immediate survival payment: The immediate survival payment of $2,000 to $50,000 (depending on business size) provides an initial lump sum directed to businesses to help offset immediate cost pressures and provide time to plan.

  • Rapid adaption payment: The rapid adaption payment provides a payment of $2,000 to $5,000 to offset costs incurred in adapting their current business model to suit restrictions.

Find out more about the Small Business Survival Fund on the Business Recovery website.

Immediate Works Grants Package worth $5 million

This package reintroduces the Immediate Works Grant for incorporated not-for-profit and community organisations – including clubs - to undertake repairs, renovations and upgrades to their premises/facilities. Applicants can apply for grants of up to $50,000 with no co-contribution required. This will be increased to a maximum of $100,000 as the NT Government will match renovations costs that exceed $50,000.

Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Grant applications open 20 April 2020.

Find out more about the Immediate Work Grant on the Business Recovery website.

Other fees and taxes

  • All Government fees and charges – including electricity, water and car registration will be frozen (no increase due to indexation) until 1 July 2021. Electricity prices for small and medium businesses (those paying regulated tariffs) will be frozen from 1 July 2020 (no increase due to indexation) until 1 July 2021

  • Reducing power, water and sewerage bills by 50 per cent for businesses for 6 months.

  • Arrangements to be made with councils to reduce rates.

Industry specific and financial support

The Worker and Wellbeing Fund can provide support for job losses or reduced income due to COVID-19.

Business Structural Adjustment package worth $5 million

This package will assist businesses who need to physically adjust to the 100 person rule or to establish or upgrade their online presence to adjust to changing behaviours of consumption. All businesses can apply, but the Department of Trade Business and Innovation will be focusing on the hospitality sector first, such as restaurants. Terms and conditions will be released soon.

Territory Jobs Hub

Territory Jobs Hub is an online portal that will help Territory workers find a new job quickly. The portal will also help businesses that need workers to connect with those looking for work, this includes casual and contract work. Read more on the Territory Jobs Hub.

Support for sports and arts organisations

A $2 million re-prioritised funding program will support the arts, creative and screen industry sector with a focus on artists, arts groups and not-for-profit arts organisations. Find out more on the Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture website.

Sport and active recreation sector Immediate Response and Resilience program

A $1.3 million re-prioritised funding program will support the sport and recreation sector. A specific coronavirus (COVID-19) working group will also be established to guide a response and recovery plan for Territory sport and active recreation, to and ensure organisations can rebound strongly from this current crisis. For more information, go to the Department of Tourism, Sports and Culture website.

Home Improvement Scheme grants of $30 million

Between $4,000 and $6,000 in grant money for NT homeowners and landlords who spend over $5,000 with local NT businesses on repairs, maintenance and improvements to their land and or buildings.

Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Applications for homeowners open 6 April 2020. Find out more about the Home Improvement Scheme on the Business Recovery website.

NT Government's Mandatory Code of Conduct rent relief.

NT Government's residential rent relief.

NT Government's tax relief for landlords.

NT Government's payroll tax relief concessions.

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Queensland

Grants

  • New grants through the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants (MDRG) program which will benefit Queensland agriculture, food and fishing exporters and their critical supply chain partners. The program has two grant components:

    • equipment purchases

    • projects.

  • Small grants of up to $500 each will be available to volunteering organisations to host volunteer recognition and social events, volunteer professional development or events focused on increasing volunteer participation. 

  • Businesses that exhibit animals have been provided financial support to help care of their animals under a new Queensland Government COVID-19 emergency funding package. In particular, mobile exhibits that show animal collections at a range of venues and very small wildlife parks may not be eligible for the larger funding packages. A fund of $500,000 is available to help operators care for their animals. Eligible animal exhibitors can apply for a one-off grant. Eligible exhibitors include those that are ineligible for existing state and federal funding packages. For more information visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' website or email

  • Applications have opened for a third round of the Government’s job-creating Rural Economic Development Grants. Businesses with a primary production background in regional and rural Queensland are invited to submit an Expression of Interest for round three of the $10 million program. Co-contribution grants of up to $250,000 are available for food and agricultural businesses to support ‘shovel-ready’ projects that create jobs for value added primary production and provide significant economic benefits to rural and regional communities. To be eligible to apply for round three, applicants must propose an agricultural supply chain project based in regional Queensland that will generate economic growth and local jobs. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate an ability to provide sufficient finance to match the grant and propose a project that has not already received approval or acceptance under another Government scheme. The RED Grant program is funded for a total of $10 million over three years. Expressions of interest for round two close at midnight on 10 July, 2020. For more information on the RED Grants including program guidelines, round one and two successful applicant stories and the Expression of Interest form, visit their website or freecall 1800 623 946.

  • The government has announced an additional $5 million in grants for cluster fencing in Western Queensland as part of its COVID-19 Unite and Recover Queensland Jobs plan. For information about the latest round of Queensland Feral Pest Initiative grants, call the Department of Agriculture on Fisheries on 13 25 23 or visit www.daf.qld.gov.au

  • Applications are open for the second round of Small Business COVID-19 Adaption grants – there is a further $100 million available for businesses to apply for grants of up to $10,000.

Other fees and taxes

  • Give Queensland households $200 off their utility bills

  • Small and medium businesses who consume less than 100,000 kilowatt hours may be entitled to a $500 rebate of their energy bills

  • Gaming taxes due from March 2020 will now deferred until 2021. The existing deferral for March 2020 gaming taxes, which was due to expire on July 10, has now been extended until 2021. Repayments for gaming taxes incurred in March 2020 will now be repaid in three equal instalments in February 2021, April 2021 and June 2021. Around 50 licensees who have already paid their gaming machine taxes for March have had a total of $1.4 million returned to them.

Industry specific and financial support

  • A package of up to $500 million to assist workers who lose their job or income and to help them find jobs in the industries that are vital to getting us through this crisis – health care, agriculture, food production, transport, cleaning and mining

  • A support package for international students

  • A $54.5m transport package targeting regional air, bus and ferry services, as well as the personalised transport industry (taxis), heavy vehicles and licence and registration fees

  • The Government has also extended COVID-19 support for vulnerable multicultural communities with a dedicated $900,000 connections package for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants

  • The Government announced funding of $500,000 to support stART, a new "quick turnaround grant program" for Queensland's independent creative artists, producers, designers, technicians and arts workers

  • Now, in state’s second phase of its Strategy, Queensland announced further measures for small business, for tradies, for farmers, for first home buyers, for seniors, for cabbies, for the tourism industry, and for artists and musicians.

Business support

  • Supply chains support - For manufacturers and businesses having difficulties accessing supplies to continue to operate, employ and meet customer needs, we are identifying alternative suppliers of Queensland manufactured goods and services which are vital for businesses.

  • Trading hours - Businesses that mainly sell food or groceries can open for longer to enable people to obtain essential groceries.

  • The Mentoring for Growth program has mentors ready to provide tailored support to impacted small businesses, including financial mentoring and business planning. Businesses can also access information and one-on-one support by calling the Small Business Hotline on 1300 654 687 or completing the online survey at Business Queensland.

  • A $500 million loan facility has been announced to enable businesses to retain staff and maintain their operations. These low interest loans will be up to $250,000 with an initial 12-month interest free period.

    • The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority is responsible for the administration of these concessional loans and is currently taking expressions of interest in the lead up to rolling these loans out as soon as possible. The Palaszczuk Government has secured an additional $500 million in funding for its program of 12-month interest free loans for COVID19-affected businesses, doubling the initial commitment.
  • The Government’s first round of small business grants were snapped up within days. The Government will now allocate an additional $100 million for these grants to help sustain small businesses so they can respond quickly post COVID-19. For more information, visit the Government's COVID-19 website.

  • The Government has announced a $50 million boost for South-East Queensland councils to build new and upgraded infrastructure which will create 750 jobs as part of Queensland’s continued economic recovery from COVID-19. The Government announced further funding as part of the second stage of her Government’s Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan. As part of the $50 million Unite and Recover Community Stimulus Package, the State Government will work with Local Governments and the Local Government Association of Queensland to identify shovel ready projects to support more jobs as quickly as possible. This announcement builds on the $200 million COVID Works for Queensland program which allocated funding to all Queensland councils which was announced as part of stage one of the Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan.

  • The Government has announced an additional $23 million to support the state’s taxi and limousine operators as Queensland continues its COVID-19 recovery. This includes support payments for operators and licence holders, as part of the second stage of her Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan. The $23 million stimulus package includes:

    • One-off payments of $3,500 per vehicle to taxi and limousine operators

    • One-off payments of $1,000 per licence to taxi and limousine licence holders

    • One-off payments of $1,500 to authorised booking entities for each affiliated taxi/limousine, capped at 1,000 vehicles and for entities that provide booking services predominantly for taxis and/or limousines

    • One-off incentive payments of an additional $1,000 per vehicle for Wheelchair Accessible Taxi operators

$1 billion Industry Support Package

The $1 billion Industry Support Package will assist large businesses through this period to ensure they will be able to scale up and service the community when economic activity improves. The package will be focused to support businesses:

  • which make a significant contribution to Queensland

  • that employ people in Queensland at scale

  • which are significant in a regional context

  • that can make a key contribution to a rapid response by the economy as conditions improve

  • which are significantly impacted as a result of COVID-19

  • to leverage current support measures and those available from other jurisdictions. More information to be released soon.

Tourism and Hospitality

  • Gaming machine tax payable by clubs and pubs will be deferred for the three months from April to June 2020

  • Waiving / rebating / deferring certain fees and charges relief for tourism operators and hospitality providers (e.g. liquor licence application fees, Marina charges and Passenger levies)

  • The Palaszczuk Government will provide $5 million to 15 Queensland airports to secure new domestic flights to fast-track the tourism industry’s economic recovery.

Fishing

The Queensland Government is funding a $3.66 million commercial fishing industry assistance package, including:

  • waiving tropical rock lobster and coral trout quota fees for the first 6 months of 2020, and fishing boat licence fee waivers for these and other fisheries affected by COVID-19, such as mud crab

  • expanding the tropical rock lobster fishery area for 3 months. This will reduce operating costs for quota holders and allow fishers to sell product into other markets while maintaining crew and jobs in the short term

  • a local seafood promotion campaign to encourage Queenslanders to support the local fishers by buying local

  • rural financial counselling services will be provided to commercial fishers, fishery supply chain and tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19

  • market diversification and resilience grants to help develop alternative markets.

Agriculture

The Palaszczuk Government will invest $5.5M to use new technologies to improve biosecurity and food safety to help build the reputation as a trusted, quality supplier to global markets. The Government will encourage new trade relationships, by investing $5M to sponsor e-commerce platforms for Queensland products in overseas markets, creating new and improved channels to market for our producers. The package also includes $2M for diversification assistance – to build capability in agricultural businesses to explore potential tourism opportunities and promotional activities.

Energy and Resources

The mining industry is looking for new minerals like vanadium which are in demand for technology like battery storage – and Queensland has huge potential to open up new reserves in its regions. The Government will commit $10M to promote exploration activity for new economy minerals for emerging technologies under the Collaborative Exploration Initiative. The Government will invest $650,000 to develop small businesses in this sector across the state, including Gladstone and Rockhampton.

Renewable energy is a growing sector and an opportunity to create new jobs. The Government will invest $17M in a state-of-the-art Renewable Energy Training Facility in Brisbane to provide world class training for solar and renewable energy.

Tourism

Air travel is a key component to enabling the tourism industry and the significant economic benefits it brings and the Government will commit $15M to airline route support. This package will support and encourage the domestic tourism spend across Queensland and bring back airline capacity faster than it would have returned otherwise. National parks are critical to tourism and the Government will commit $8.93M under a works and jobs boost to provide visitor infrastructure upgrades and enhancements to re-energise nature-based tourism.

Arts sector

The Queensland and Australian Governments have implemented a range of support and assistance for the arts sector, including:

  • Arts Queensland assistance – grant funding boosts, expanded criteria and time-frame extensions for:

  • Individuals Fund – funding increased to $500,000

  • Queensland Arts Showcase Program (QASP) – funding increased to $2 million

  • Australia Council for the Arts Response Package – grant and reporting relief, funding adjustments, online learning series, First Nations support, digital support.

The arts and culture sector has been significantly impacted by the pandemic with performances unable to occur and spaces closed. The Palaszczuk Government’s $22.5 million package will help support the recovery of the arts and culture sector. This includes $11.3 million to offset revenue losses in the music and performing arts venues. 

Healthcare

As part of the $17.5 million plan to protect families of health heroes, thousands of Queensland’s front-line health workers could be provided free accommodation if they want to self-isolate. Details of the plan are included below. More information about this plan will be available soon.

  • $17.5 million over six months to cover accommodation,

  • Open to staff working in Intensive Care Units and dedicated COVID-19 wards,

  • Money provided to HHS to ensure staff could be accommodated as close to home as possible,

  • The program would be reassessed in six months.

Queensland will also invest an extra $1.2 billion to expand:

  • fever clinics

  • emergency department capacity

  • acute care services

  • regional aero-medical services for our remote communities.

Resources project support

A multi-million-dollar package will support the survival and revival of Queensland’s explorers to maintain the state’s pipeline of resources projects and jobs. The package includes:

  • a 12-month waiver of rent on exploration land due between 1 April and 1 September

  • a freeze on fees and charges until 1 July 2021

  • releasing almost 7000 square kilometres of land for gas and mineral exploration later this month

  • bringing forward $2.8 million in grant funds for innovative exploration in the North West Minerals Province.

Resources Community Infrastructure Fund (RCIF)

Queensland’s regional workers, their families and the communities they live in will receive more funding to assist in the post-COVID recovery, following the finalisation of arrangements for the Palaszczuk Government’s $100m Resources Community Infrastructure Fund (RCIF).

  • RCIF will deliver $100m over three years towards projects targeted at improving economic and social infrastructure across Queensland’s resources communities

  • Under a Memorandum of Understanding, the State and the Queensland Resources Council have settled arrangements for resource companies to make contributions to the voluntary fund totalling $70 million over three years.

Household Resilience Program

The Government announced a renewal of the highly successful regional Household Resilience Program as part of its Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs stimulus package. 

  • It has been renewed with an extra $11.25 million after the program’s proven results to support local jobs and save on household insurance premiums

  • The Household Resilience Program, provides grants to support people in cyclone affected areas to improve the resilience of their homes. 

Queensland homeowners will be able to cyclone proof their homes through the Household Resilience Program, with applications opening under Phase 2 of the Program. The program was being reopened with a $21.25 million top up from the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments, after the program’s proven results to support local jobs and save on household insurance premiums. Queenslanders living on low incomes in cyclone prone areas in north Queensland may be eligible for Government assistance to increase the cyclone-resilience of their homes. Local, licensed contractors, can provide eligible residents with a quote to undertake building work valued at a minimum of $3,300 to improve the cyclone resilience of eligible homes.

Construction

The building industry is vital to Queensland and there is a need to stimulate demand for tradies across the state over the next six months. The Government is re-affirming its commitment to the $15,000 first home-owner grants program for any Queensland first home buyers purchasing a new home valued at less than $750,000. And further, the Government will provide an additional $5,000 grant for people building a new home in a regional location, helping to encourage people to move to regional Queensland. Additionally, the Government has committed to a further $100M Housing Construction Works for Tradies program – with new social housing to be built across Queensland. Councils in South-East Queensland will receive an additional $50M for a Unite and Recover Community Stimulus Program to support minor works and projects that create local jobs in our most impacted areas.

A Seniors Accessibility and Renovation Assistance boost to Home Assist will be provided to around 2,000 seniors and people will a disability who will receive additional subsidies of up to $5,000 to help them stay safely in their own homes, such as security upgrades, repairs and maintenance. This will provide a $10 million boost with more work for local tradies and handymen. 

Business Support package 

  • $400m for an ‘Accelerated Works’ program to deliver new road, bridge and pavement sealing works across the state

  • $200m in 2020-21 for a ‘Works for Queensland’ program to support jobs and fund building projects

  • $100m to support small businesses including ‘Small Business Adaption Grants’ of up to $10,000

  • $50m for tourism infrastructure and more funding towards a domestic tourism campaign

  • redirecting $50m of industry attraction funding under the ‘Making it for Queensland’ initiative to continue to expand manufacturing capacity for PPE, hand sanitiser and medical supplies to respond to COVID-19

  • $20m towards construction of a Queensland Apprenticeships Centre in renewable hydrogen at Beenleigh

  • $20m for free online training which includes training in safety and hygiene standards to keep COVID-19 contained

  • $14.8m to support project development of the ‘CopperString 2.0’ project that will connect the North West Minerals Province with the national electricity market

Support to workers

Support is now available for Queensland workers who test positive for COVID-19 and have no access to paid sick leave. While many Queenslanders have access to paid sick leave or pandemic leave there were still many Queenslanders who are left out, particularly those in casual employment. If a casually employed Queenslander who is not eligible for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payment contracts COVID-19, they will have no access to an income during their time away from work. This will also be available to any employee who has exhausted their sick leave or pandemic leave entitlements, and tests positive to COVID-19. This payment will provide affected workers with a one off $1500 payment to cover their unpaid sick leave. To be eligible for this payment you must have be employed, test positive to COVID – 19 and have no access to paid sick leave or pandemic leave. The Department of Employment, Small Business and Training will work closely with Queensland Health to ensure when these Queenslanders’ are tested positive for COVID-19 that they are referred to the Department for this assistance.

Queensland Resilience and Risk Reduction Fund (QRRRF) 

More than $13 million is now available through the Queensland Resilience and Risk Reduction Fund (QRRRF) to help local communities better prepare for future disasters. The funding is part of the Commonwealth and Queensland Government’s five-year commitment to improve safety and disaster resilience across the state, with investment of $4.8 million from the Commonwealth and $8.3 million from the Queensland Government. Eligible applicants include Local Governments, Queensland Government departments and agencies, and incorporated not-for-profit-organisations. The QRRRF is administered by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

Skills Focus Queensland

The Government is partnering with a globally successful online training company to provide a world first for small businesses and employees impacted by COVID-19. Go1 are well-known for providing a platform for major firms and companies across the world to access training lessons pivotal to businesses. In a first for the company, this training library will be made available to Queensland small businesses and their employees. The Queensland Small Business Skills Hub provides access for small businesses and their employees to around 400 online courses in topic areas such as Leading a Successful Business, Digital Skills and Foundation Business Skills. The second GO1 portal, Skills Focus Queensland, will provide access for Queenslanders whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19 with approximately 400 courses across topic areas such as CV Writing and Interview Preparation, Sales, Finance and IT. Small business owners and operators will also be able to create their own training programs for their employees. 

The Skills Focus Queensland portal will have courses across seven topic areas:

  • Job Finder and Skills Booster, such as CV writing and interview preparation

  • Accounting and Finance

  • Sales and Customer Service

  • Hospitality

  • Programming and IT

Access to the GO1 online library is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $500 million Workers Assistance package under the Government’s Economic Recovery Strategy – Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs to support employment and enable future economic growth. The intention is to expand available training courses available by partnering with other service providers that offer online courses. Small businesses can access the Queensland Small Business Skills Hub GO1 training library via the Business Queensland website at www.buisiness.qld.gov.au/onlinetraining.

QLD Government's Mandatory Code of Conduct rent relief.

QLD Government's residential rent relief.

QLD Government's tax relief for landlords.

QLD Government's payroll tax relief concessions.

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South Australia

South Australia has come out with their extended stimulus measures as follows:

Grants

  • Relaxing the existing criteria requiring an employer to maintain their overall employment levels for a full year to be eligible for the second anniversary Job Accelerator Grant (JAG) payment

  • Claims for the second JAG will be assessed on staffing levels as at 31 January 2020 rather than the relevant 2 year anniversary date

  • $10,000 grants for eligible small businesses and not-for-profit entities that employ South Australians and have been highly impacted by COVID-19:

    • Turnover more than $75,000, annual payroll less than $1.5m and not be entitled to COVID-19 payroll tax waiver

    • Apply by 1 June.

  • The Government has announced a $500,000 "eCAP program", whereby small to medium exporters can apply for up to $10,000 in grant funding to diversify their business model to include an online platform.

Small businesses and NFPs

The South Australian Government has announced a one-off $10,000 emergency cash grant for small businesses and NFPs affected by COVID-19. The cash grant will be funded from the State Government's $650m Jobs Rescue Package and seeks to help around 19,000 small businesses and NFPs.

To be eligible for the one-off $10,000 emergency cash grants, a business must:

  • employ people in South Australia;

  • have annual turnover of more than $75,000 (GST exclusive);

  • have an annual payroll of less than $1.5m, and not be entitled to a payroll tax waiver under the COVID-19 support measures introduced by the SA Government;

  • have an ABN and were carrying on the operation of the business in SA on 1 March 2020;

  • have been subject to closure or highly impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions (see T&C);

  • use the funds to support activities related to the operation of the business; and

  • apply by 1 June 2020.

Eligible businesses and NFPs can register via the SA Government’s COVID-19 website.

Other fees and taxes

  • $1 billion injected into the economy (inclusive of the original $350 million announced)

  • Liquor license fees will be waived for businesses forced to close due to social distancing. This applies for a number of license categories.

Fee relief for Mineral and Petroleum Sectors

  • Deferral of costs linked to exploration and licence fees for the minerals and petroleum sectors to alleviate the impact of containment measures

  • 12 month waiver of committed expenditure for all mineral exploration licence holders

  • Expansion of allowable expenditures towards minimum Petroleum Retention Licence requirements during a period of low oil prices.

Fee relief for Nature based Tourism Businesses

  • Commercial tour operator licence fees waived for 6 months from April 1

  • Rents for properties leased on crown land are also waived

  • Package is $850,000 in relief

  • Things like bushwalking, camping, bus and coach tours, boating and fishing experiences, marine mammal and cage diving operators, tourism and hospitality sites.

Industry and financial support

  • $300 million fund to support individual businesses and industry sectors directly affected by COVID-19

  • $250 million community and jobs fund supporting sports, arts, not for profits, other sectors facing potential collapse and loss of jobs

Taxi

  • $4,300 ex gratia payment per metropolitan taxi to the taxi operators

  • Waiving of a full year of operator accreditation and vehicle fees for metropolitan taxi operators.

Education

$13.8 million to support SA international education sector to cover:

  • $10 million fund for university students significantly impacts by COVID-19 restrictions at University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia

  • $500 emergency cash grant to other international students currently enrolled living in SA

  • One off $200 assistance payment per student in a home stay arrangement with SA families

SA Government's Mandatory Code of Conduct rent relief.

SA Government's residential rent relief.

SA Government's tax relief for landlords.

SA Government's payroll tax relief concessions.

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Tasmania

The Tasmanian economic stimulus will be:

Grants

  • The Government will provide everyone off grants up to $750 to fight the impact of COVID-19 for small businesses
  • $5,000 grants for businesses that hire an apprentice or trainee.

Other fees and taxes

  • Water and electricity bills will be waived for the 1st quarterly bill received after 1 April this year for small business customers on Tariff 22, 94, 82 or 75 in those small business on market contracts that could access those tariffs

  • Electricity prices will be capped and water prices will be frozen next financial year

  • The Government will freeze all fees and charges subject to the Government Fee Units Act 1997

  • Various component of motor tax and vehicle registration will also be waived where that business has been significantly impacted by measures taken to manage COVID-19

  • The Government will waive annual taxi licence fees for the calendar year 2020 at a cost of $240,000.

Industry specific and financial support

Funding to help the workforce

  • Local Government Loan Scheme will be extended from $50 million to $150 million

  • Rapid Response Skills Initiative boosted by an additional $6.3 million

  • Business that have an immediate job need and opportunities available, can access a job-ready pool, including to match people to our immediate skill needs such as in health and food retail industries

    • Up to $3,000 for individuals to help gain skills and licenses

Small Business Support

  • Increase of the Small Business Interest Free Loan Scheme from $20 million to $50 million

    • Available to businesses with turnover less than $10 million

  • New $40 million to the Small Business Grants Program. Business support loan scheme will increase loans from $20,000 to $250,000 are available for eligible businesses to support continuity and viability

    • $20 million set aside for emergency grant support (grants of up to $2,500)

    • $20 million for larger grant payments

  • Business continuity grant will provide one off grants up to $750 to fight the impact of COVID-19 for small businesses

  • Business vehicle registration relief

    • Freeze for light and heavy vehicle registration (can be reactivated for free after a maximum of 12 months)

    • Heavy registration and motor tax waivers for 12 months

Small Business Hardship

  • Provide A Digital Ready for Business Program to be boosted to $400,000 to assist business owners taking business online

  • Small business customers will have their next quarterly energy bill waived

  • Grants of $15,000 for those small business experiencing severe financial hardship but should first apply for the Small Business Emergency Support Grant. Open to businesses with less than 50 FTE employees who:

    • Can meet the hardship test

    • Demonstrate an ability to continue to operate in the current environment and provide products and services necessary for the Tasmania/Australian community

    • May need to cease operation temporarily but can demonstrate strong prospects for future jobs sustainment and growth

Seafood and fishery support

  • The Government will provide an additional $1.8 million for fisheries fees and licence relief for 12 months

  • This initiative is in addition to the 12 month waiver for annual fees for Rock Lobster, Giant Crab, wild capture Fin Fisheries and Abalone Divers.

Creative and cultural industries

The Government will provide $1.5 million to support the Creative and Cultural Industries. The programs to be funded include:

  • $500,000 for an Arts and Screen Digital Production Fund

  • $250,000 one-off funding for script and other development activities

  •  $250,000 to support contemporary musicians to record music and video for digital distribution and business relaunch

  • $500,000 to support additional Arts organisations not currently funded.

The Government will also extend arts organisation contracts due to expire by one year.

Critical air freight

The Government will provide $2.6 million towards air freight services for time sensitive freight

Primary Healthcare Grants

  • $5 million available to primary healthcare sector to support pharmacists and GP’s

  • Grants of up to $10,000 is available to eligible GP’s and community pharmacists

  • Funding criteria: Needs to identify expenditure to support delivery of services such as equipment, workforce and infrastructure (minor capital works).

North West Coast Trade Businesses

  • Hardware, trade and agricultural supply stores are permitted to sell directly to businesses that need specific products related to their line of work

  • Appropriate identification such as ABN should be ready to be provided if asked for confirmation in store.

Wine Tasmania's industry engagement projects

  • The government announced an additional $50,000 to expand Wine Tasmania's industry engagement projects

  • The funding will assist Wine Tasmania to undertake wide range of workshops, presentations, training and resources for wine producers.

TAS Government's Mandatory Code of Conduct rent relief.

TAS Government's residential rent relief.

TAS Government's tax relief for landlords.

TAS Government's payroll tax relief concessions.

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Victoria 

The Victorian Government has announced an economic survival and jobs package with below measures:

Grants

  • Small businesses with annual Victorian payroll taxable wages below $650,000 are able to apply for $10,000 grants from Monday 30 March

  • $2.6 million in grants will be made available for all early childhood services delivering a funded kindergarten program to boost their cleaning and hygiene during this pandemic

  • Following the "Stage 3 Stay At Home" announcement for specific postcodes in Victoria, the Victorian Government has announced a Local Lockdowns Business Support Program specifically for businesses that are operating within a postcode affected by the return to Stage 3 restrictions. These businesses, subject to eligibility, can apply for a one-off $5,000 grant to help them get through to the other side of the local lockdown. The program closes 31 July 2020.

Multicultural media outlets

The Victorian Government is backing multicultural media outlets across the state with grants for new equipment and technology.

  • Up to $500,000 is available to enable multicultural outlets to continue to deliver high quality news, entertainment and information, while also increasing their engagement with readers, viewers and listeners

  • Under the small grants stream, outlets can apply for between $2,000 and $9,999

  • Funding of between $10,000 to $25,000 is available under the major grants stream.

Live Music Venues Program

The government is supporting live music venues to respond to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with a new program providing grants to help pay wages and basic business expenses. The government announced the creation of the $15 million Victorian Live Music Venues Program to secure the future of grassroots venues. The Victorian Live Music Venues Program will be open to venues across Victoria with a capacity of 50 to 1,200 people. It will support venues that have a solid reputation for presenting original live music and demonstrate best practice in business operations. The $15 million program is in addition to $4 million previously announced for the music industry focused on supporting musicians and industry workers who have lost gigs, income and employment as a result of the pandemic. Applications for the Victorian Live Music Venues Program will be open from 16 July to 6 August. Guidelines and application details will be made available on the Creative Victoria website.

Business Adaptation grants program

Food production businesses and farms in Victoria will be supported in making their workplace safe and keeping supply chains uninterrupted. The Government launched the Business Adaptation grants program – part of the Working for Victoria Agriculture Workforce Plan – to support food supply chain businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas. Under the program:

  • Individual grants of between $10,000 and $300,000 will support eligible businesses, to meet health, safety and social distancing requirements or adapt to business changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Adaptations may include changes to transport used to take employees to and from work to ensure physical distancing, changes to employer-supplied accommodation, or the creation of extra washrooms and other facilities

  • Grants can also be used to buy machinery or appliances needed by businesses to adapt to maintaining operations during the pandemic

  • Each grant will cover up to 50% of the costs of individual adaptation projects, with the remainder to be covered by the business.

Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants Program

Victorian agricultural and pastoral societies will be supported to continue putting on events and upgrade infrastructure through support from the Government. 

  • $300,000 in funding will go to 39 societies from across Victoria as part of the program

  • Grant packages of up to $10,000 will help societies to upgrade or establish

    • new facilities

    • encourage greater local involvement in show activities

    • create opportunities for agricultural businesses to engage with the community

    • enhance business activities to help in show planning.

Biodiversity Bushfire Recovery Grants

The Victorian Government is continuing to support the recovery of the state’s devastated bushland and biodiversity with a new grants program to help fund rehabilitation works following the summer’s unprecedented bushfires. The Biodiversity Bushfire Recovery Grants will provide a total of $900,000 for on-ground works, community education and capacity building projects. The funding will support projects in the North East, East Gippsland and South West regions of the state where the fires had an unprecedented impact on Victoria’s precious plants and wildlife. The program is unique because it not only provides funding for the rehabilitation of public land, it’s also available to fire-affected private landowners focusing on environmental conservation on their properties.

Successful applicants can access grants of up to:

  • $10,000 for eligible individuals

  • $30,000 for environmental volunteer groups

  • $50,000 for volunteer-based environmental networks.

In recognition that fire affected communities are also dealing with current public health measures, building projects that include online training to maintain skills and promote information-sharing are also eligible for grant funding.

Creative Recovery grants

Victorian communities affected by the summer bushfires will be given a boost through Creative Recovery grants as part of the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments’ Community Recovery Package. The $700,000 Creative Recovery program will run in the Alpine, East Gippsland, Indigo, Mansfield, Towong and Wangaratta shires – fostering a series of projects to help communities to reflect, rebuild and recover. Regional Arts Victoria will deliver the program, in partnership with Bushfire Recovery Victoria, Regional Development Victoria and Creative Victoria. It will back tourism-boosting projects and events, support creative businesses to bounce back and fund two new on-the-ground roles to support and train local creatives. Recruitment is under way for two Creative Recovery Officer roles, to be based in East Gippsland and the North East. The officers will work shoulder-to-shoulder with local creatives and community members to identify potential projects, develop grant applications and build connections to help get projects off the ground. Later this month, applications will open for the Creative Recovery grants which will support the development of creative projects to assist in the social and economic recovery of impacted communities. The grants will also offer practical assistance for local creatives including the replacement of lost tools and equipment, payment of rent for workspaces, and professional and business development. The Public Galleries Association of Victoria will also work with galleries in Wangaratta and East Gippsland to deliver public programs that support recovery. For full program details, visit Regional Arts Victoria’s website.

Other fees and taxes

  • Liquor licensing fees for affected venues and small businesses in the hospitality sector will be waived

  • The Government will freeze all fees and fines that were due to be increased in July 2020 at current levels (e.g. car registration, traffic infringements, court-imposed penalties and permit fees), freeze the Fire Services Property Levy, and defer the planned Landfill Levy increase

  • Victoria has announced the deferral of the collection of rent and annual fees worth $3.5 million until January 2021 to aid the immediate cash flow of mines, quarries and exploration companies.

Licensed motor car traders (LMCTs)

The Victorian Commissioner of State Revenue has announced a temporary measure to assist LMCTs by extending exemptions from motor vehicle duty available on demonstrator or service demonstrator vehicles from 12 to 18 months. This applies to a vehicle registered

  • As a demonstrator vehicle (between 1 March 2019 and 30 September 2020)

  • Service demonstrator vehicle (between 1 July 2019 and 30 September 2020).

Industry specific and financial support

  • A Business Support Fund of $500m will be established to support the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail

  • A $500m Working for Victoria Fund will be established for job opportunities and job-matching

  • A $45m fund has been established to support international students in Victoria facing hardship as a result of COVID-19, which will provide a payment of up to $1,100 each for students who have lost their job or had a significant reduction to their employment and are facing financial hardship
  • $14m will be shared between Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Phillip Island Nature Parks to ensure they can continue to operate and retain permanent staff until it‘s safe to open their doors again

  • Extra resources will be made available to kindergartens to help children learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic with the announced $900,000 in grants for new programs and extra staffing at kinders not yet receiving funding through the $160 million School Readiness Funding initiative

  • The Government announced the "Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund", a $350 million fund which will support universities with capital works, applied research and research partnerships. 

Multicultural and multifaith support

The Victorian Government is supporting multicultural and multifaith families to ensure they stay connected to their communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes:

  • $11.3m in funds will be provided to help these communities, which are facing their own unique challenges due to social isolation, language barriers or difficulties accessing services such as income support, Medicare or Centrelink

  • Nearly $5m to support vulnerable and at-risk youths and families in financial hardship who need essential items such as food and clothing

  • $2.2m to provide basic needs assistance to thousands of asylum seekers

  • $1.1m toward culturally appropriate family violence prevention and early intervention services

  • $1m to boost translated messaging across Government departments, so Victorians with English as a second language can better navigate their way through the pandemic.

Casual public sector workers

Under Commonwealth Government guidelines, casual public sector workers such as swimming pool lifeguards or staff at the Melbourne Aquatic Centre, ticket staff at the Melbourne Museum or the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre or park staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens are ineligible for the JobKeeper program.

  • The Victorian Government will alter this by making sure these workers can access their usual fortnightly payments of up to $1500 before tax, up until the end of September, provided they are happy to be redeployed to other public sector roles where demand for more resources is high, such as healthcare.

  • The package will support 3,000 workers and, unlike the Jobkeeper program, it will be available to workers regardless of their age whether they are an Australian Citizen or not. Public sector casual workers will be eligible for the payment regardless of their length of service.

Sport, tourism and creative industries

The Victorian Government is backing Victorian sport, tourism and creative industries, with $150m to save jobs and ensure our best experiences are available on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Experience Economy Survival Package will support:

  • Sporting clubs and competitions across the state – from grassroots to elite

  • Major tourist attractions, galleries and museums, and the racing industry.

The package includes:

  • $40m for community sport and recreation bodies including state sporting associations, leagues and clubs – to help them return strongly after the pandemic

  • $16m will go to national sporting organisations

  • $5.3 million will support the State Sport Centres Trust and the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust

  • $44m in the state’s racing industry, to help secure jobs and bolster racing clubs across the state

  • $11m for Victoria’s tourism industry, with funding for the Emerald Tourist Railway Board (Puffing Billy) and other not-for-profit and privately-owned visitor attractions, plus regional tourism boards and the Victorian Tourism Industry Council

  • More than $32m will support creative agencies and initiatives, including funding for the Geelong Arts Centre, Museums Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Recital Centre

  • $6m for live music industry workers and to bolster the oversubscribed Sustaining Creative Workers initiative.

    • These funds are in addition to the $16.8 million support package announced for creative industries and bring the total survival package for jobs in the creative sector to more than $49 million.

Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program

The Victorian Government has established the Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program – a collaboration with the Apprenticeship Employment Network, the peak body for group training employers to help apprentices and trainees displaced by the COVID-19 crisis to complete their apprenticeships and training and find work. This program will:

  • Work actively to encourage impacted apprentices, trainees and employers to sign up to a register and will then assist them to stay engaged with their training and to place them with appropriate employers - by helping them to complete their apprenticeships or traineeships, the program will ensure participants are well placed to contribute to a skilled and productive workforce as Victoria moves towards a period of recovery

  • This initiative builds on the Government’s $4.7 million funding to extend the successful Apprenticeship Support Officer program, to continue to support apprentices

  • A further $43.8 million investment was made to lift the quality of apprenticeships by supporting the introduction of independent assessments, updated learning materials and the reintroduction of trade papers.

  • The register is up and running at aen.org.au/outoftrade

Sustaining Creative Workers initiative
A $16.8 million survival package for Victorian creative organisations and individuals. It will support creatives, across all creative disciplines, to continue to work in their creative field, adapt to change, research and develop projects, develop their product or skills, and/or connect with new audiences or markets.

  • A further $2 million was allocated to boost the $2.2 million Sustaining Creative Workers initiative, which has seen high demand since opening on 30 April, including from many in the music industry.

  • The support is part of $49.1 million response by the Victorian Government to safeguard the state’s creative industries and jobs.

Music Industry Support package

The Government announced a dedicated $4 million Music Industry Support Package including:

  • $2.5 million for the development of new work which can be released now or be ready to launch or tour when restrictions are lifted

  • $1.5 million for training, professional and business development, and mentoring for music industry workers, including the many who work behind the scenes and have been heavily impacted.

Building Works package

A $2.7bn Building Works package that will build the projects that matter to Victoria and create the jobs that matter to Victorians that includes:

  • More than $1.18bn in education infrastructure projects

    • The Victorian Government will fix old buildings, deliver extra classrooms and build ten brand new schools in a state-wide construction blitz that will create thousands of jobs across the state and kickstart Victoria’s economy.

  • Hundreds of projects that have been selected because they can get underway as soon as possible, within a matter of weeks and months

  • Boost for public and community housing, with half-a-billion dollars to upgrade 23,000 dwellings and build 168 new homes across the state

  • includes $382m in upgrades, maintenance and new experiences at tourism destinations across the state - from delivering 50 kilometres of mountain bike trails in the Ararat Hills to upgrades at the Gippsland Lakes, this investment will be particularly vital in creating and sustaining jobs in regional Victoria

  • Funding for local sports facility upgrades, work to improve waterways and coastal areas, and revitalisation and maintenance projects from tree-planting to graffiti removal in communities across the state

  • $328m for resurfacing and patching roads, around 300 kilometres of regional track improvements, repairs at more than 15 train stations, more maintenance on trains and trams, and local pier upgrades along the coast, adding to Victoria‘s $107 billion job-creating Big Build

  • More than $100m for the critical upgrades of CFA and SES stations, disability accommodation, mental health and aged care facilities across Victoria.

Growing Suburbs Fund

The Victorian Government is boosting funding for new and improved community facilities across Victoria’s fastest growing suburbs. This is through a major expansion of the Growing Suburbs Fund, with an extra $25 million to bring forward delivery of new facilities and upgrades that improve communities and their access to vital services. The Fund will also be extended for the first time, to include six peri-urban councils experiencing strong population growth, ensuring projects are being delivered where they are needed most. The councils that will now have access to the Fund are Baw Baw, Golden Plains, Macedon Ranges, Moorabool, Bass Coast and Surf Coast. Previously the Fund was only available to Melbourne’s 10 interface councils.

Social Housing Stimulus Package

Victorians experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic will have their emergency accommodation extended and services will have more time to provide tailored exit pathways. The Victorian Government announced almost $10 million in funding to keep people experiencing homelessness in their current accommodation and plan their pathway out into more stable long-term housing. The $9.8 million package includes additional Housing Establishment Funding for agencies to continue placing clients in temporary hotel accommodation and will also create nine data roles to work within newly created Homelessness Emergency Accommodation Response Teams throughout Victoria. Improved data collection will allow the Government to have a greater understanding of the housing and support needs of people in temporary accommodation. The funding will also temporarily boost intake systems with nine extra Initial Assessment and Planning workers in areas of highest demand across the state. These roles will coordinate with local services to ensure each person in a hotel has the support they need to achieve stable housing, and identify their best housing options, be that private rental, supported accommodation or social housing. The funding builds on a series of recent announcements by the Victorian Government to ensure people at risk of or experiencing homelessness are protected and remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes nearly $15 million in emergency housing, isolation and COVID-19 recovery facilities, and almost $90 million for rapid response housing refurbishments and new housing builds as part of a broader $498 million social housing stimulus package.

Victorian Business Growth Fund

The Victorian Government opened the $250 million Victorian Business Growth Fund – an innovative program that will see the Government partner with First State Super and back small-to-medium enterprises who want to grow but can’t raise the funds or find the right investment partner. The Victorian Business Growth Fund is a Victorian-first initiative that will invest in business on commercial terms and take an equity stake in business, rather than providing a grant. As businesses continue to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19, accessing the capital they need to grow is likely to become an even greater barrier than it was before. The Victorian Government will partner with the superannuation industry to back these businesses in to grow. Giving these businesses an opportunity to grow boosts productivity, increases employment and will help stimulate the business sectors doing it tough due to COVID-19. These investments will help drive permanent, high-skilled jobs in priority areas of the economy, including jobs for people who are unemployed, jobs for apprentices or jobs for people attempting to reskill. Decisions about investments will be made by independent fund manager Roc Partners. For more information about the Victorian Business Growth Fund or to apply online, visit the Department of Treasury and Finance's website.

Aboriginal COVID-19 Response Fund

The Victorian Government is giving Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and Traditional Owner group networks the resources they need develop Aboriginal-led, culturally safe responses to COVID-19. The Government announced an extra $23 million to support Aboriginal Victorians through the pandemic. The package includes $10 million to establish the Aboriginal COVID-19 Response Fund, to give local organisations the funding they need to develop responses at a local level over the coming year. The fund provides immediate support – including emergency relief, outreach and brokerage, social and emotional wellbeing initiatives – as well as cultural strengthening and celebration opportunities. The package also includes $13 million over two years to meet an increase in ACCO service demand. This will provide support for Elders, homelessness services and stable housing, education support and resourcing for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) to provide specialist health supports. Dedicated funding is also included for Registered Aboriginal Parties to ensure they have the technology and skills needed to continue working remotely and care for Country during the pandemic. A COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Taskforce was set up in April to inform the Government’s coordination of services to Aboriginal Victorians, which includes ACCO and departmental representatives. To support the community, the Government is providing $35 million for Aboriginal organisations to build, upgrade and maintain social and transitional housing, $2 million to ACCHOs in wellbeing and social supports, $287,400 in targeted business support and a further $100,000 to improve and create targeted health messaging.

Infection Control Skill Set Project

Workers across the state will receive free accredited training to help them manage the ongoing risk of COVID-19 infection in their workplace and keep the state open for business. The government announced up to $10 million in funding to boost Victoria’s economic recovery through a national infection control skill set project, in partnership with the Commonwealth. The project will deliver free short courses to workers in customer-facing roles in areas such as retail, food handling, transport and logistics, to ensure they can help their business operate safely. The courses will help keep the community safe and will support businesses to reopen and help workers maintain their own safety, identify hazards and infection risks, and stop the spread of COVID-19. The training will be a mixture of online and workplace learning and involve up to 25 contact hours, to ensure students can implement infection control procedures effectively. Enrolments will open at Victorian TAFEs and other providers from 1 July, and training under the program will be available for a year. Workers and businesses can get more information from their local TAFE, Skills and Jobs Centre, or online through the Victorian Skills Gateway.

Free TAFE program

The government will expand its signature Free TAFE program as part of a major new package of investments to boost skills, create jobs and drive the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The government announced $163 million in targeted investments that will make it easier for people with pre-existing qualifications to retrain so they can get work in sectors that need more skilled workers. It includes funding to get more Victorians impacted by COVID-19 into training – particularly women and young people – in the second half of this year, for jobs in industries that will drive economic recovery. The package will create 10,000 more Free TAFE places, and expand Free TAFE to include new full qualifications linked to jobs and government priorities. These qualifications include Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work, Certificate III in Health Services Assistance, and Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations. The announcement will also increase the availability of targeted short courses to support upskilling for existing employees, and help retrenched workers and job seekers join professions where there are jobs available. This includes the Course in Introduction to the NDIS (skill set), as well as $3.9 million for an additional 11,000 places in accredited short courses and skill sets in construction across TAFE and industry-owned Registered Training Organisations until June 2021. The Government is also allocating $1.25 million to improve literacy, numeracy and digital skills to help more Victorians progress to further study or employment.

VIC Government's Mandatory Code of Conduct rent relief.

VIC Government's residential rent relief.

VIC Government's tax relief for landlords.

VIC Government's payroll tax relief concessions.

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Western Australia

The Western Australian economic stimulus will be:

Grants

  • Payroll tax paying businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500

Community Relief Fund

The Water Corporation has launched a one-off round of grants to support not-for-profit organisations and community groups across the Kimberley that have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

  • Grants of up to $10,000 are available through the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, which is an extension of the Kimberley Community Grants Scheme, delivered by the Water Corporation and the Lions Club of Broome.

To find out how to apply for a grant and eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, visit the Water Corporation's website at http://www.watercorporation.com.au/kcgrants

Regional Economic Development (RED) Grants program

The RED Grants program supports locally driven projects that contribute to the economic growth and development of regional Western Australia and the McGowan Government has committed $28.8 million over five years towards the regional grants program. It is now opening round three of the program and investing up to $6 million in regional projects to sustain jobs and build business resilience.

  • Round three RED grants will have a particular focus on projects which help sustain jobs, expand or diversify industry, build skills and capacity, attract new investment and maximise the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic impacts.

  • Applications are now open and close on July 7, 2020 - grant funding allocations will be determined at a regional level.

More information about the RED Grants program, including guidelines and application details are available at http://www.drd.wa.gov.au/rfr/REDG or through the State's nine Regional Development Commissions.

Community Litter Grants 

To coincide with World Environment Day, the McGowan Government has opened up applications for funding as part of the 2020 Community Litter Grants program. Community groups, schools and Local Governments are invited to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for major initiatives or regional projects, or $5000 for local area projects. The Keep Australia Beautiful Council's (KABC) 2020 Community Litter Grants aim to support projects and initiatives that focus on changing littering behaviour. The grants are open to Local Governments, small to medium-sized enterprises, community groups and schools. Successful projects will help to reduce litter at events, sporting and recreation venues, shopping and commercial precincts, roadsides and waterways ­- and will target the incorrect disposal of cigarette butts and takeaway food containers, and initiatives that reduce litter. Applications for Community Litter Grants close on Friday July 24, 2020, with successful applicants announced in KAB Week 2020 which runs from August 17-23, 2020. For application guidelines and more information on the grants program, visit http://www.kabc.wa.gov.au/resources/community-litter-grants

GoundSwell

The McGowan Government has launched GroundSwell to assist small regional businesses accelerate their growth, create jobs, become more globally competitive and ride out the effects of COVID-19. Expressions of interest are now open for experienced organisations that deliver programs to assist regional businesses realise performance improvements and adopt technology for enhanced penetration into external markets. The GroundSwell program will provide grants of up to $200,000 to deliver targeted entrepreneurship and technology training and support programs in regional Western Australia. The program is specifically designed to assist regional entrepreneurs build globally competitive and diverse businesses through improved education, network building and opportunity realisation, as well as support existing regional businesses take up new and emerging technologies and business models.

The Regional Arts Resilience Grants Program

A new $1 million grant program will provide vital funding to support ongoing creative and cultural activity in Western Australia's regions. The Regional Arts Resilience Grants Program, delivered by Regional Arts WA, will offer up to $15,000 to regional artists, cultural practitioners, and arts and cultural organisations. The grants will support creative development, community engagement and capacity-building projects (such as professional development and business development) that abide with COVID-19 restrictions. The first round of the Regional Arts Resilience Grants Program opens for applications in July 2020. This grant program forms part of the Regional Arts and Cultural Investment Program (RACIP), which will deliver almost $20 million to regional Western Australia over four years. The RACIP program is administered by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

Other fees and taxes

  • Electricity bills for small businesses will be reduced with a one-off $2500 credit for Synergy and Horizon Power customers consuming less than 50 MWh per annum

    • Available as of 31 March 2020 and will be allocated from 1 May.

  • $100.4 million allocated to waive a range of licence fees for small and medium businesses in COVID-19 impacted industries for the next 12 months

  • From 23 March, late payment penalty tax will be remitted in full for those taxpayers who demonstrate COVID-19 has directly or indirectly affected their financial circumstances

  • Businesses can apply for interest free payment plans if required

  • 6 month grants of liquor licenses for the sale of liquor with takeaway or delivered meal

    • Applications fast tracked and fee waived

  • No small businesses facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 will face power or water disconnections due to late payments.

    • No interest will be charge on deferred bill payments

  • $114 million in measures to support Western Australian small and medium businesses

  • Exemption from exploration expenditure to be considered if tenement holders unable to meet the requirements due to COVID-19

    • Valid until 31 March 2021

    • Applications through department of mines, industry, regulation and safety.

Relief to fixed wastewater service charges

Businesses who are eligible for JobKeeper payments with four or more fixtures for customers (toilet, urinal or pan washer) can apply to have their wastewater service charges waived (fourth to 200th fixture inclusive) for the period of May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020. 

  • Businesses can receive up to approximately $41,000 in relief through this measure

  • The measure is estimated to cost the State Budget $5.5 million

  • The scheme will be implemented on an application basis via the Water Corporation's website or by calling its customer contact centre - applications will open from June 2, 2020.

Household fees and charges

The total representative household basket of fees and charges will decrease in Western Australia in 2020-21, saving households up to $63.52. This is the first time that the household model in its current form has decreased. The one per cent reduction in 2020-21, costing the Budget an additional $37 million, primarily due to the Government's decision to pass on the 13 per cent average fall in gross rental values (GRVs) to the owners of metropolitan properties.

Households will now either receive a freeze or a reduction in GRV-related State Government charges, including the Emergency Services Levy (ESL), and wastewater and drainage charges. While regional GRVs have not yet been revised by the Valuer-General, the McGowan Government will freeze regional household GRV related charges for 2020-21. Household wastewater and drainage charges will fall on average by around $23.52.

Around 55 per cent of metropolitan households will receive a fall, and 45 per cent of metropolitan households and all regional customers will receive a freeze. This comes after $402 million was allocated in the State Budget to freeze the entire household basket of fees and charges for the first time since 2004-05, including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges and public transport fares, saving households $127 which was the expected rise.

Businesses will also benefit from the lower GRVs through a reduction in the ESL. The average ESL for metropolitan commercial properties will fall by around $127 and by around $169 for industrial properties. This relief is in addition to the $2,500 offset paid to thousands of small businesses to assist with utility charges during the COVID-19 pandemic. This delivered more relief to businesses than freezing tariff increases, and equates to around 10 months of electricity supply for the average small business.

As outlined in the Budget, electricity business tariffs will rise by 3.7 per cent in 2020-21, while non-residential water tariffs will rise by 2.5 per cent to reflect the cost of supply. Eligible hospitality and tourism businesses with four or more wastewater fixtures have also had wastewater charges waived between May 1 to August 31, 2020. The Government is also waiving more than 250 business licences for 12 months for a wide range of businesses impacted by COVID-19. This includes trade licences such as those for painters, plumbers and electricians; vessel accommodation and mooring fees for tourism operators and commercial fishers, plus fishing licences; booking service fees for the passenger transport industry; liquor licences for the hospitality sector; real estate and settlement agent fees; and planning.

Non-residential water charges

Regional businesses will benefit from a delay to planned increases in non-residential water charges across 10 regional schemes. Water Corporation non-residential water charges in regional Western Australia comprise of a uniform State-wide meter-based service charge, and a consumption charge that varies based on location (referred to as 'steps'). After a 2013-14 review of regional non-residential charges, the government decided that customers in a number of regional areas were not paying the correct price for water. Since that review, charges for non-residential customers in a number of regional schemes have been increasing, rising by one step per year. From July 1, 2020 customers in 10 schemes would have another one step increase in their water charges: The overnment will defer this increase as part of its support package to assist businesses and the community through the financial impacts of COVID-19.

Industry specific and financial support

  • An industry specific support team has been established to help support members of the tourism industry

  • $159m COVID-19 Relief Fund to respond to the hardship being experienced by the Western Australian community

    • An initial $59m will be available for crisis and emergency relief support for eligible not for-profit and community organisations.

  • The Department of Finance is to reduce standard payment terms to suppliers by 10 days for invoices under $1m

  • The McGowan Government is supporting over 70 regional events around the State with $1m funding in order to assist Western Australia's regional tourism industry on the road to recovery.

Northern beef industry

The Government will invest $8.3 million over four years to drive a more profitable, resilient and diverse northern beef industry. The funding will support productivity improvements across pastoral land and the northern cattle herd, and increase Aboriginal capacity and job opportunities. Funding has been locked in ahead of this year's Budget to allow critical work delivered through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's Northern Beef Development program to continue. New projects include a grants scheme to increase the adoption of technology and innovation, and assistance for Aboriginal pastoral enterprises in assessing and transitioning to improved business models that attract investment and create job opportunities.

New Industries Fund (NIF) 

The McGowan Government is advancing up to $800,000 from the $16.7 million New Industries Fund (NIF) to support start ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) impacted by COVID-19. The $16.7 million New Industries Fund was established to support and accelerate new and emerging businesses to diversify the Western Australian economy and create new WA jobs. The $800,000 package from the New Industries Fund consists of the following support programs:

  • Innovation Vouchers Program: An additional $300,000 to support 16 more Innovation Vouchers, worth up to $20,000 each, to start-ups and SMEs. This is in additional to the existing $400,000 allocated for the 2020 program, bringing the total value to $700,000. The total 36 Innovation Voucher grants will support SMEs to access professional skills, services or knowledge to advance their ideas and commercial activities.

  • WA Data Science Innovation Hub and the AustCyber WA Innovation Hub: $400,000 funding to help build the hubs' capacity to advise start-ups and SMEs on cyber security and the use of data science for business development, including in regional areas.

  • X-TEND WA Program: $100,000 funding for education and mentoring programs, which will be delivered by existing X-TEND WA program recipients. This will help boost entrepreneurs and innovative projects that support diversity and promote inclusion in the innovation community. This will also support WA business that wish to pivot their business model.

Construction workforce

$24.5m support package to assist the building and construction industry in maintaining a skilled workforce and support apprentices and trainees. It includes:

  • $10m immediate support with a $2,000 payment to employers to maintain existing apprentices and trainees

  • $9.5m in new monthly payment program to employers of apprentices and trainees

  • $5m to support more than 5,000 building and construction apprentices and trainees to complete short training courses.

Taxi and on-demand transport industry

The relief package for taxi and on demand transport industry support will include:

  • total of $9m

  • $4.7m to regional taxis

  • $2500 cash payments to authorised on demand booking services that hold active passenger transport vehicle authorisation

  • Waiver of PTV authorisation renewal fees for the next 12 months

  • Camera requirement for metro and regional taxis delayed until 1 July 2021.

Local Governments and universities

A new lending facility to support Local Governments and universities impacted by reduced revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been established. The new lending facility will:

  • Enable Local Governments and universities to access short-term loans to support the liquidity of their operations

  • Be available from the Western Australian Treasury Corporation (WATC), with applications opening on June 1, 2020.

  • Only be available for Local Governments and universities that can demonstrate the impact COVID-19 has had, and is expected to have, on forecast cash flows for 2020-21.

Mining sector

Specific rate royalties applied to minerals used by Western Australia's building and construction sector will remain at their current levels and not increase for the next five-years commencing July 1, 2020

 The unchanged rate royalties are:

  • Amount A (73 cents) includes aggregate, clays, dolomite, gravel, gypsum, construction use limestone, rock, (common) salt and sand

  • Amount B (117 cents) includes building stone, chemical use limestone, metallurgical use silica and talc.

This announcement follows the McGowan Government's decision to streamline administrative procedures for the mining sector and reduce the Mines Safety Levy.

The government has amended the Mining Regulations 1981 to support stakeholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the revised regulations, tenement holders can now apply for expenditure exemptions if they are able to demonstrate that COVID-19 has affected their ability to meet their expenditure conditions. The temporary amendments reduce the amount of time allowed for an objection to be lodged, from 35 days to 14 days, and all exemption applications will now be published online. Guidelines have been developed to assist stakeholders through the new interim process and to ensure applications remain of a high-quality. Additionally, on Wednesday July 1, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety cut its assessment timeframes in half for exploration Programme of Work applications. The new timeframe target for applications has been reduced from 30 to 15 business days.

Small tourism operators

The Government has launched a multi-million dollar recovery package to support small tourism operators around the State to adapt and refocus their businesses in the COVID-19 landscape. With some regional travel and other restrictions being cautiously eased from Monday May 18, as part of the WA Roadmap, the State Government's Tourism Recovery Program will enable tourism operators to prepare for a staged return to business in a new environment. The $14.4 million initiative includes two funding programs:

  1. $10.4 million in one-off cash grants for up to 1,600 individual small businesses around the State. 

    • The $6,500 grants will provide immediate support to eligible tourism operators with annual taxable wages of less than $1 million, including accommodation, attraction, tour and transport businesses.

  2. $4 million Tourism Business Survival Grants package will be available for tourism operators dealing with exceptionally difficult circumstances

    • The Survival Grants of $25,000-$100,000 will target businesses located in parts of the State with more restrictive travel bans in place, or whose circumstances otherwise mean they will face a more difficult road to recovery. Businesses which deliver iconic experiences are also eligible to apply. 

A probity auditor would review the robust and transparent criteria-led application and panel assessment. As part of the application process, businesses are required to:

  • Submit a recovery and marketing plan to outline how the funding will be used and indicate how their product, service or experience could be adapted

  • Have a valid Australian Business Number and be an active part of the WA tourism industry through membership of one of the State's eligible tourism organisations, or tourism accreditation programs.

More information on the Tourism Recovery Fund and the online application form can be found on Tourism WA's corporate website at: http://www.tourism.wa.gov.au/WATourismRecoveryProgram

Goods and services contracts

The McGowan Government is implementing procurement changes for goods and services contracts to give Western Australian businesses a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes, to take effect from June 2, 2020, will make it easier for Government agencies to award and extend goods and services contracts with local businesses.

The procurement changes for goods and services include:

  • allowing agencies to purchase direct from a local business up to $250,000 (a $200,000 increase on the current limit)

  • lifting the threshold for public tender processes up to $500,000 when at least one local business is involved (an increase of $250,000)

  • enabling agencies to obtain written quotations, in place of a tender, between $250,000 and $500,000, where one or more local businesses can supply

  • allowing agencies to extend Government contracts with local businesses for up to two years to give businesses certainty.

These are temporary changes to boost the local economy and businesses during the pandemic. These changes will be in place until the end of 2020. The Department of Finance will continue to support agencies and departments to procure with local businesses, and continue to provide oversight of agencies goods and services contracts over $250,000.

Housing Stimulus Package 

The Government has announced a $444 million housing stimulus package to deliver a major boost to Western Australia's COVID-19 economic recovery, and support the building and construction sectors. The comprehensive housing package will provide incentives for Western Australians to build new homes and deliver more social and affordable housing options for Western Australians. The housing stimulus package will deliver:

  • $117 million for $20,000 Building Bonus grants provided to homebuyers who sign up before December 31, 2020 to build new houses or purchase a new property in a single tier development (such as a townhouse) prior to construction finishing.

  • $8.2 million to expand the 75 per cent off-the-plan transfer duty rebate, capped at $25,000, until December 31, 2020 to include purchases in multi-tiered developments already under construction;

  • $97 million to construct social housing dwellings and purchase off-the-plan units for supported housing programs;

  • $142 million to refurbish 1,500 existing social housing dwellings; and

  • $80 million for targeted maintenance programs for 3,800 regional social housing properties - including remote Aboriginal communities' stock and subsidised housing for regional Government workers.

Regional Exhibition Touring Boost (RETB)

A $195,000 relief fund will be available for eligible regional art galleries that had to cancel exhibitions and close their doors due to COVID-19. The funding will ensure the galleries have the capacity required to host visual art exhibitions and activities in the future as part of the Regional Exhibition Touring Boost (RETB). It will assist recovery in re-establishing vital community arts activity. The first RETB exhibition was on tour, and the second one was about to commence, when regional border closures and physical distancing restrictions saw public galleries close across the State. The RETB is an $8 million election commitment creating more opportunities for regional Western Australians to engage with visual arts, by increasing the number of touring exhibitions to regional towns and communities. The RETB is delivered by ART ON THE MOVE (AOTM) and the Art Gallery of WA, and is managed by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. AOTM will administer the fund.

WA Government's Mandatory Code of Conduct rent relief.

WA Government's residential rent relief.

WA Government's tax relief for landlords.

WA Government's payroll tax relief concessions.

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Stephen O'Flynn

E soflynn@shinewing.com.au

Daniel Minihan

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