State and Territory economic updates



State & Territory economic updates

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


Updated 25 March 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).

New South Wales

The New South Wales Government has announced:

  • The waiver of payroll tax for 3 months for businesses with payrolls of up to $10m

  • The next round of NSW payroll tax cuts will be brought forward by raising the threshold limit to $1m in 2020-21

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

  • 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

  • Deferral of payroll tax for all businesses with payroll taxable wages exceeding $10 million for six months which means that those below the $10 million threshold now have a further 3 months deferral

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

  • $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

  • Deferral of rent for six months for commercial tenants with less than 20 employees in all Government owned properties

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


In a similar vein, Queensland is offering:

  • A 6 month deferral of payroll tax for all businesses with the capacity to agree a repayment plan with the Queensland OSR at the end of the 6 month period

  • Coupled with this group employers with annual taxable Australian wages of less than $6.5 million can also obtain a refund of two months payroll tax as well as a payroll tax holiday for three months

  • For group employers with annual taxable Australian wages of greater than $6.5 million, where their businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 (eg reduced turnover, customers, profits etc) they will also be able to obtain a refund of two months payroll tax

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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).

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

  • 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.

  • Providing rent relief for businesses who rent premises from the state government

  • Give Queensland households $200 off their utility bills

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

    • fever clinics

    • emergency department capacity

    • acute care services

    • regional aeromedical services for our remote communities.

Western Australia

The Western Australian economic stimulus will be:

  • Providing a one-off grant of $17,500 to businesses with payrolls of between $1m and $4m

  • The next round of WA payroll tax cuts will be brought forward by raising the threshold to $1m in 2020-21

  • Employers who pay $7.5m or less in wages can apply to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until July 21, 2020

  • WA will also freeze household fees and charges as well as increase the level of Energy Assistance payments to support vulnerable households

  • $91 million allocated to double the Energy Assistance Package in 2020-21 to provide additional support to vulnerable Western Australians

  • $3 million will be provided to fund opportunities for local COVID-19 research

  • A waiver of rental payments for small businesses and not-for-profit groups in State Government-owned buildings for six months

  • Introducing a $159 million COVID-19 Relief Fund to respond to the hardship being experienced by the Western Australian community.

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

    • The funding will also provide urgent financial relief for not-for-profit sports, arts and community organisations experiencing hardship as a result of cancelled events. 

South Australia

An immediate economic stimulus package worth $350 million has been announced by the Marshall Liberal Government, to help drive the South Australian economy and secure local jobs.

The expenditure is to cover major infrastructure maintenance projects including road and hospital upgrades, new tourism infrastructure and an expanded Economic and Business Growth Fund to support local industry, which is expected to sustain hundreds of jobs across the state with construction to begin in coming weeks.

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

  • Business groups with annual Australian grouped wages of up to $4 million will receive a six month payroll tax waiver. Eligible groups will not pay payroll tax for the months of March through to August 2020. For those groups above the threshold that can demonstrate significant impacts from COVID-19, a six month deferral of payroll tax payments can be applied for, so that payments due in April through to September can be paid in October 2020.

  • Businesses and individuals with land tax quarterly installments due, can defer the third and fourth installments for six months

  • The government will increase the existing land tax transition fund relief from 50% to 100%

  • The criteria for claiming Job Accelerator grants will be relaxed to account for reductions in employment levels due to COVID-19

  • Liquor licensing fees will be waived or reduced with respect to a number of licence categories

  • The Government will provide a once off boost of $500 and bring forward the 2020/21 Cost of Living Concession to a number of eligible applicants.


In Tasmania the stimulus referable to payroll taxes is more targeted as follows: 

  • Payroll tax for the last 4 months of this financial year will be waived for hospitality, tourism and seafood industry businesses, other businesses with an annual payroll of up to $5m will have their payroll tax liabilities waived for the last 3 months of this financial year

  • To encourage the employment of young people, a youth employment payroll tax rebate will be introduced from 1 April 2020

  • Tasmania will also establish a $20m facility for the provision of interest free loans (for up to 3 years), for the purpose of purchasing equipment or restructuring business operations, to businesses within the hospitality, tourism, seafood and export sectors with turnover of less than $5m

  • Loans of up to $50m in total (over 3 years) will also be provided to local governments to encourage investment and associated employment to upgrade, renovate and maintain tourism assets

  • One-off $5,000 grants will be provided to businesses that hire an apprentice of trainee, from a fund of $2.1m

  • Other industry specific measures include a 50% discount on liquor licencing fees coupled with waiver of application fees, waiver of tourism operator lease, licence and entry fees, and waiver of fees referable to rock lobster, giant crab and fin fisheries for 12 months

  • Tasmania will also provide funding for various initiatives referable to COVID-19 aimed at supporting the health sector, citizens and businesses through the crisis.

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:

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.

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.

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.

Handbrake Government Fees and Charges and Electricity Prices 

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.

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.


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

  • Payroll tax refunds of $550m will be provided to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million

  • Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief

  • 2020 land tax payments will be deferred for eligible small businesses

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

  • 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

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


Commercial stimulus

The ACT government announced the following stimulus measures:

  • 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

  • Licenced 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

  • 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

  • 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.

Household stimulus

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.

Community stimulus


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.

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Stephen O'Flynn


Daniel Minihan