COVID-19 economic response: Relief for businesses and households

Household fees and charges will be frozen and Western Australian small and medium businesses will receive additional relief, as part of a $516 million stimulus package announced by the WA Government.

The measures will provide relief to Western Australian families and small businesses, and help support the State’s economy to respond to COVID-19.

WA Premier Mark McGowan and Treasurer Ben Wyatt announced that, effective immediately, a freeze will be placed on household fees and charges, including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, the emergency services levy and public transport fares.

An allocation of $402 million in the 2020-21 Budget will go towards paying for the freeze.

Previously the Budget included an increase of $127 or 2 per cent in fees and charges – which was the estimated inflation rate for 2020-21.

The last time the ‘household basket’ of fees and charges was frozen was under the previous Labor Government in 2004-05.

The WA Government will also allocate $91 million to double the EAP in 2020-21 to provide additional support to vulnerable Western Australians.

The payment will increase from $300 to $600 for eligible concession card-holders.

The stimulus package also includes $114 million in measures to support Western Australian small and medium businesses.

Payroll tax paying businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500 to assist them to manage the impacts of COVID-19.

It’s expected 7,400 Western Australian businesses will benefit from the grant.

The WA Government will fast-track additional payroll tax relief for small businesses, with the payroll tax threshold increasing to $1 million from July 1, 2020, six months earlier than planned.

The $114 million payroll tax announcement builds on the payroll tax package announced by the Government in October (2019). As part of the package announced last year (2019), the payroll threshold increased to $950,000 from January 1, 2020, and was due to increase again to $1 million from January 1, 2021.

11,000 Western Australian businesses will benefit from the cut in payroll tax.

In addition, small and medium sized businesses affected by COVID-19 can now apply to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until July 21, 2020.

The deferral is available to employers who pay $7.5 million or less in Australian Taxable Wages and have been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19, compared to normal operating conditions.

Further information on how to apply for a payroll tax deferral is available on the WA Department of Finance website.

Source: WA Government