Western Australian Government Stimulus Package
The West Australian Government has now announced a $1 billion economic and health relief package to support WA businesses, households and community groups, and to boost the response by health and frontline services to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The measures include assistance for payroll tax, waiving of fees and charges and assistance for households, along with arrangements for landlords and tenants. Special assistance has also been provided for apprentices.
The measures include:
- A one-off grant of $17,500 for approximately 7,400 small businesses with payroll between $1 million and $4 million that pay payroll tax.
- Increasing the payroll tax threshold to $1 million brought forward by six months to July 1, 2020
- Businesses with payrolls of up to $7.5 million impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19 can waive 2019-20 payroll tax payments for 1 March to 30 June 2020
- A one-off $2,500 credit on electricity bills for small businesses
- Waiving licence fees for businesses in industries such as hospitality, tourism, retail and building trades. Liquor licence renewal fees for 2020 will also be waived, and refunds provided to businesses that have already paid
- Waiving rent for small businesses in WA Government-owned buildings until 30 September 2020
- Waiving late payment penalties for payroll tax, transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax for business and households.
- A freeze on household fees and charges until at least July 1, 2021 which will apply to entire 'household basket', including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, emergency services levy and public transport fares
- Power or water disconnections will not occur for households facing financial hardship and no interest will be charged on overdue bills
- A doubling of the Energy Assistance Payment (EAP) to $610 to support vulnerable Western Australians, including pensioners
- Keystart customers facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can apply to defer principal repayments and waive interest costs by up to six months.
- JobKeeper wage payments will be exempt from payroll tax.
Support for commercial tenants and landlords
A moratorium on evictions has been established for certain commercial tenancies and a mandatory code of conduct to assist negotiations between landlords and tenants.
This legislation includes:
- an eviction moratorium, backdated to March 30 2020
- Introduction of a six-month freeze on rent increases
- restrictions on penalties for tenants who do not trade or reduce their trading hours
- no interest to be charged on rent arrears
- the introduction of an enhanced dispute resolution process
- a prohibition on landlords progressing proceedings that occurred after the restrictions were imposed, but before these laws come into operation.
Relief for commercial tenants and landlords - $100 million for land tax relief grants to be paid to eligible commercial landlords who must provide rent relief that equates to a minimum of three months’ rent and freeze outgoings to small businesses that have suffered at least a 30 per cent reduction in turnover. Grants will be equivalent to 25 per cent of the landlord’s land tax bill for 2019 20 for the property in which an eligible tenant is provided relief will be paid to landlords.
The commercial land tax relief grants will be administered through the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC). More information on eligibility criteria and how to apply for the commercial land tax grant.
Relief for residential tenants and landlords - $30 million for grants of up to $2000 (4 weeks rent) for residential tenants who have lost their job and facing financial hardship paid direct to landlords, on behalf of tenants. To qualify landlords must agree not to seek to recover this rent relief from tenants at the end of the period.
Building and Construction Apprentices
The WA Government and the Building and Construction Industry Training Board is providing a $24.5 million support package to assist the building and construction industry to maintain a skilled workforce during the COVID-19 crisis.
The package includes $10 million to provide an immediate, one-off payment of $2000 to employers of existing apprentices and trainees currently receiving Construction Training Fund (CTF) grant payments.
A new grants scheme worth $9.5 million will be introduced to assist employers to retain their existing apprentices, with payments beginning from June 1, 2020 backdated from April 1, 2020.
The payments will range from $250 per month to $500 per month, per apprentice or trainee, depending on the trades facing the most critical skills shortages in the industry.
Apprentices and trainees employed in the industry can claim up to $1000 to support the costs of undertaking short courses to assist them in upskilling.
Employers and employees can find out more information about the support package to assist the building and construction industry.