Premier reveals $1bn package to boost business, health services
Payroll tax will be waived for around 10,000 small businesses for the next four months in Western Australia, with power credits, a hold on licence fees and interest-free payment plans for state government duties part of a $1 billion economic and health system stimulus package announced today.
Premier Mark McGowan said as part of that package, $500 million would be allocated to boost health and other frontline service delivery areas to ensure WA could respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement comes as the number of new COVID-19 cases rose by just nine overnight, an indication that social distancing measures were having a positive effect, however, the premier again warned residents not to be complacent.
Under the package, electricity bills for around 95,000 small to medium businesses will be reduced, with a $2,500 credit available for small businesses that consume less than 50 megawatt hours per year.
“It doesn’t make sense for businesses that have suffered a devastating loss of trade in this environment to be forced to pay large electricity bills,” Mr McGowan said.
“This measure will provide some $236 million in relief to nearly 100,000 small businesses such as cafes, delis, restaurants, beauticians, small retail stores that have been heavily impacted by the recent trading restrictions.”
Placing payroll tax on hold for businesses with less than $7.5 million in wages commitments for the next four months is expected to cost the state government $165 million, with about 10,000 companies expected to be eligible for the stimulus.
Mr McGowan said $100 million had been allocated to waive a wide range of licence fees for business, building services, plumbers and electricians, tourism businesses operating in national or marine parks, boat registration and mooring fees for tourism operators and commercial fishers.
Liquor licensing fees for 2020 will also be waived, with refunds available for those who have paid already, while power and water will not be cut off for any business facing difficulty making payments because of COVID-19.
“Businesses can also apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax,” Mr McGowan said.
A range of measures was also announced to benefit households, with power bill credits of $305 to be made available, a moratorium placed on electricity and water disconnection for non payment, and the waiver of any interest on late payments by those impacted by COVID-19.
“Households will also be able to apply for an interest-free payment arrangement, and for late payment penalties to be waived for transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax,” Mr McGowan said.
Keystart customers will also be able to defer mortgage payments for six months, with any interest costs waived over that period also.
For community service providers, a $2,500 power bill credit will be available, and government agencies will continue to make payments to providers until June 30, even if the provider cannot provide services because of COVID-19.
“On top of these measures we have also allocated a further $500 million to health and other frontline service delivery areas to provide a strong response to COVID-19,” Mr McGowan said.
“This funding will go towards increasing supplies of personal protective equipment, ventilators, additional staff and hospital beds, to cope with surging demand in the health system
“All up, it is a very significant package for a state government that we are announcing today.
“It is one that has been pulled together quickly to make sure we continue to give Western Australians the support they need in these trying times and to try and keep employment and businesses alive.”