Business boost amidst pandemic

AS Victoria begins to shut down all non-essential businesses, the state and federal governments have announced stimulus packages to try and keep businesses afloat and workers in their jobs.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced a $1.7 million economic survival and jobs package which will provide full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million – giving $550 million back to businesses.

Payments will start flowing next week and will save eligible businesses up to $113,975 a year, with businesses saving an average of $23,000. The assistance is a refund, not a loan.

The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until January 1, 2021, freeing up a further $83 million in cash flow.

The State Government also announced $500 million to establish a Business Support Fund – the fund will support the hardest hit sectors including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail.

A $500 million Working for Victoria Fund will also be established which will help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities.

The state stimulus package coincides with a second wave of stimulus packages announced by the Federal Government.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined a second stage $66 billion economic package which will give $100,000 of cash payments to small businesses.

Welfare recipients will also receive another $750, and ‘Jobseeker Payment,’ previously called Newstart, will temporarily receive double of their current payments.

Additional measures include allowing people to access $10,000 from their superannuation in 2019-2020 and 2020-21.

Deeming rates will also be reduced by a further 0.25 per cent.

While a reduced number of politicians returned to Parliament House yesterday to implement the stimulus measures, Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said not enough was being done to support residents.

“The government has been too slow to make these announcements,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Labor will be supportive of the changes, we’ve been constructive in highlighting the gaps and we’ve been pushing for the sense of urgency.”

While Labor didn’t stand in the way of these changes, Mr Mitchell expressed concerns on residents being allowed to access their superannuation.

“Getting people to raid superannuation during times of uncertainty – I don’t think the government has thought this through,” he said.