Billion-dollar stimulus package to save state jobs and businesses

Photo: Whyalla News, Louis Mayfield
Photo: Whyalla News, Louis Mayfield

A robust contingency plan firmly focused on saving the state's jobs and industries greatly impacted by the coronavirus will be lifted by $650 million in state funds.

The plan was unveiled on Thursday as the latest economic stimulus package offering significant payroll and land tax relief for thousands of businesses amid the coronavirus crisis.

It provides for the waiving of liquor licence fees for affected hospitality outlets that were forced to close their doors this week.

This second package brings the state's total economic recovery to $1 billion - just behind Victoria's $1.7 billion.

The first package was announced earlier this month to boost an economy hit by bushfires, drought and coronavirus.

Whyalla Chamber of Commerce and Industry members have welcomed the package, saying it will reduce the burden on their businesses.

"As a regional community, like many worldwide, we have been hard hit with many businesses closing their doors and having to stand down staff," treasurer Malcolm McLeod said on behalf of the members.

The competitive advantages of the city on the Eyre Peninsula include well established industries, food and agricultural products, natural resources, mineral resources and vibrant communities.

But the members say people are now joining welfare queues at Centrelink, some for the first time in their lives.

The members now call on the government to announce more support and funding.

"We encourage individuals experiencing financial hardship to contact their banks," Mr McLeod said.

"Many of the major banks are providing financial assistance.".

Meanwhile, the latest relief will be split into two plans, the $300 million Business and Jobs Support Fund and the $250 million Community and Jobs Support Fund.

Among the new initiatives in the Government's second stimulus package:

Payroll tax relief (Up to $60 million of savings to business)

  • 6-month waiver for all businesses with an annual payroll (grouped) up to $4 million
  • Eligible businesses won't have to pay any payroll tax from April to September
  • This measure is expected to assist up to 2,400 businesses and save them up to $84,000 over the six months (average saving $25,000)
  • Employers with grouped annual wages above $4 million able to defer payroll tax payments for 6 months on demonstration of significant impacts on cash flow of coronavirus
  • Around 4,300 businesses will be able to access this payroll deferral and is expected to increase overall cash flow by around $580 million.

Land tax relief (Up to $13 million in additional savings)

  • From July, the Government's significant land tax reforms will kick in, delivering $189m in savings to investors and landlords over the next three years.
  • Under the new measures, individuals and businesses with outstanding quarterly bills for 2019-20 able to defer payments for 6 months (up to 28,000 private land tax ownerships will benefit)
  • For 2020-21 Land Tax Transition Fund relief will be increased from 50% to 100% based on existing relief criteria guidelines - saving some investors up to $50,000

Fees and Charges

  • Waiver of liquor licence fees for 2020-21 for those hotels, restaurants, cafes and clubs forced to close as a result of new social distancing restrictions

$300 million Business and Jobs Support Fund

  • A fund to support individual businesses and industry sectors directly affected by coronavirus, and face potential collapse - and the loss of thousands of jobs - as a result

$250 million Community and Jobs Fund

  • A fund to support community organisations, sporting, arts and recreational bodies, non-profit organisations as well as some industry sectors whose operations have been impacted by the coronavirus
  • Will also help with training of South Australians seeking new skills and employment and to assist organisations meet increased demand for services including emergency relief.

Cost of Living Concessions (An estimated additional benefit of about $30 million)

  • A once-off boost of $500 and bring forward the 2020-21 'Cost of Living Concession' for households who are receiving the Centrelink JobSeeker Payment, assisting those who are unemployed or lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus restrictions.
  • For eligible homeowners, their 2020-21 payment of $215.10 will now become $715.10. Eligible tenants will receive $607.60.

Access to accrued leave for public sector workforce

  • If a public servant has a family member who has lost their job and moved onto Commonwealth benefits, they will be able to receive their accrued leave down to a limit of two retained weeks (annual and long service leave)

For more details and how to apply to the funds email: BusinessandJobsSupportFund@sa.gov.au or CommunityandJobsSupportFund@sa.gov.au.

This story State's hard-hit industries handed significant lifeline first appeared on Barossa & Light Herald.