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Victorian economic survival package to help businesses and employees

Victorian economic survival package to help businesses and employees

The Victorian government has unveiled a $1.7 billion economic survival package to help businesses and people who have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas announced the package on March 21 to provide financial assistance to small and medium businesses and workers.

Here is a summary of the economic initiatives:

Payroll tax

Victorian payroll tax will be refunded in full to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million for the 2019/20 financial year.

Payments will start flowing to businesses from later this week.

No paperwork is required if you qualify and if you have paid your payroll tax, you will be refunded the money that has been paid to date for the current financial year.

The Victorian premier made it clear that this assistance was a refund rather than a loan.

“Cash is better in the hands of struggling businesses than in a government bank account right now,” Mr Andrews said.

For the remainder of the 2019/20 financial year, as we understand, businesses are still required to lodge their payroll tax details, however payments will be waived.

Premier Andrews also mentioned that payroll tax for the same businesses would be deferred for the first quarter of the 2020/21 financial year.

That means payroll tax payable for the period of 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2019 will be able to be deferred until 1 January 2021.

Commercial tenants

Commercial tenants renting in government buildings can apply for rent relief.

The government is encouraging private landlords to do the same. Expect to hear more in this regard in the coming weeks or even days.

Land tax

Eligible businesses will have their 2020 land tax payments deferred. Unfortunately, no more information on this is available at this time.

Government supplier invoices

The state government will pay outstanding supplier invoices within five days to help improve cash flow for small businesses.

Note that the standard payments are within 30 days. The private sector is encouraged to do the same.

Liquor licenses

The premier announced it will waive liquor licensing fees for affected venues and small business for 2020 in order to support the hospitality sector.

Business Support Fund

The state government has established a $500 million Business Support Fund to provide hardship payments, small grants and tailored support targeted at those businesses hardest hit.

The fund will support numerous sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts, entertainment and retail.

These businesses may not necessarily be able to take advantage of the payroll tax refunds due to their size being small and requiring more targeted assistance.

The fund will be administered by the government together with the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Ai Group.

No further information about how this fund will be accessed is currently available.

Working for Victoria Fund

The state government will also establish a $500 million ‘Working for Victoria Fund’.

The fund will assist people who have lost their jobs, targeting casual workers and employees who have been stood down.

For those who have lost their jobs, the fund will provide employment opportunities that will help the government fight against the current situation, such as cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food.

The government also said this fund will facilitate job matching to help Victorians find short-term or casual employment.

The fund will be worked through in consultation with the Victorian Council of Social Services and Victorian Trades Hall Council.

State budget

In light of the ongoing economic uncertainty, the 2020/21 Victorian budget will be postponed to later this year, with a date yet to be confirmed.

Mr Pallas said: “This is the first of many announcements we will make to help Victorian businesses survive and keep people in work.

“We’re working in lock-step with the federal government to make sure our support complements their work as we weather this unprecedented global economic storm.”

LDB’s trusted specialists are tracking these developments closely and will keep you up to date as new information becomes available.

If you need help understanding the new financial measures and what they mean for your specific situation, then give us a call on (03) 9875 2900 or send us a message via the contact form below.

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