South Australian Government Stimulus Package
The South Australian Government has announced two waves of stimulus assistance to date with $1 billion committed to the Jobs Rescue Package. The Package includes payroll and land tax relief and funding for public housing, combined with direct assistance for household expenses. The national approach for commercial landlords and tenants has also been adopted.
- $300 million Business and Jobs Support Fund - A fund to support individual businesses and industry sectors directly affected by coronavirus.
- Payroll tax relief - A 6-month waiver for all businesses with an annual payroll up to $4 million. Employers with grouped annual wages above $4m able to defer for 6 months.
- Land tax relief – From July, the Government’s historic land tax reforms will kick in, delivering $189m in land tax cuts over 3 years. Those with outstanding quarterly bills for 2019-2020 will be able to defer payments for 6 months. For 2020-2021 Land Tax Transition Fund reflief will be increased from 50% to 100%.
- Cost of living concessions - A once-off boost of $500 and bringing 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.
- Housing SA Boost - A $10 million maintenance boost will improve up to 1,000 Housing SA homes, including 250 in regional South Australia.
- A one off emergency cash grants of $10,000 for small businesses and not-for-profits that have suffered a significant loss of income or been forced to close as a result of necessary COVID-19 restrictions.
Landlord and tenant support
Landlords who provide tenants impacted by COVID-19 with rent relief may be eligible for a 25% reduction on the land tax payable on a parcel of land in the 2019-20 land tax year.
Relief is also available to residential and non-residential land owners who are unable to secure a tenant because of COVID-19. To be eligible for land tax relief, eligible landlords will need to demonstrate that the land was leased to 30 March 2020, but has since been vacant due to the impact of COVID-19.
South Australia has legislated specific changes for tenants and landlords in commercial arrangements. The changes include:
- Ensuring lessees cannot be evicted during COVID-19 due to failure to pay rent, failure to pay outgoings or business failing to open in the terms specified in the lease
- Unless otherwise agreed between lessor and lessee, the rent must not be increased during the period if the lessee is suffering COVID-19 related financial hardship
- Requiring the lessor to not on-charge land tax if suffering COVID-19 related financial hardship.
Lessees and lessors are encouraged to commence discussions on any matters relating to leases including deferral of rent, rent free periods or any other modifications to leases which will help both parties through this difficult time. If agreement is reached, any changes should be documented and executed by all parties.
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner has more information for lessees and lessors, including information on lodging a dispute.