Financial Support Available to Small Business

Broken down State-by-State

By: smartcompany.com.au

New South Wales


Payroll tax waiver

New South Wales has waived payroll tax for the next three months, until the end of the financial year.

The waiver is available for businesses with payroll of up to $10 million and is expected to be applied automatically.

The state is also bringing the next round of payroll tax cuts forward, meaning the payroll tax threshold will rise to $1 million in the financial year 2020-21.

Fees waived

The state government is scrapping fees and charges for businesses in vulnerable sectors, including for bars, cafes, restaurants and tradespeople.

The total allocated for this measure is $80 million, but it is not yet clear exactly which fees will be waived, or for how long.

The measure will be administered through Service NSW, and more details are expected to be communicated through this channel.

Investment in local projects

The government has announced $250 million to spend on fast-tracking the maintenance of public assets, including social housing and fencing, as well as $500 million to bring forward capital works and maintenance.

It’s unclear how these contracts will be managed, but a spokesperson for the treasurer confirmed the measure is intended to provide opportunities “for businesses of all sizes,” and to create employment.

The government has also pledged $250 million to employ additional cleaning staff for public infrastructure, including public transport assets, schools and public buildings.

Read more on the New South Wales stimulus package here.

Victoria

Payroll tax refunds

The Andrews government’s $1.7 billion package includes refunds of payroll tax for small businesses.

Businesses with payroll of less than $3 million will be eligible for a full refund of payroll tax for the 2019-2020 financial year. Payments are set to begin this week, and are expected to be issued automatically.

The government has stressed that this payment is a refund, not a loan.

Payroll tax deferrals

Small businesses will also be eligible for a deferral of payroll tax payments for the first three month of the 2020-2021 financial year. Payments for this period will now be due in January 2021.

Business support fund

Businesses in the hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts, entertainment and retail sectors may also receive additional assistance through a new business support fund to be established by the Victorian government.

While details are yet to be released about what kinds of financial support will be available, the government said it will be administered in partnership with the Australian Industry Group, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Hotels Association.

The fund will support businesses that may not be eligible for payroll tax refunds because their payrolls exceed $3 million.

Businesses can register their interest in the fund by filling out this online form.

Due payments, waived fees and rent relief

In addition, the Victorian government has pledged to pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days.

It is allowing commercial tenants in government buildings to apply for rent relief and offering deferral of land tax payments for eligible businesses.

It is also waiving liquor licensing fees for 2020, for affected businesses.

Finally, an additional $500 million will be used to establish a ‘working for Victoria’ fund, to find employment for workers who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more about Victoria's Stimulus here.

Queensland

Payroll tax relief

Queensland businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible for payroll tax relief or deferral.

Relief is available for all employers that pay less than $6.5 million in Australian taxable wages.

They will also be eligible for a three-month payroll holiday, and a deferral of payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year.

Businesses that pay more than $6.5 million in wages, and have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus, can also apply for the refund and deferral.

In this case, that means the business will have seen a negative effect on turnover, profit, customers, bookings, sales or supply contracts, compared to normal conditions.

Application forms for the refund, holiday and deferral are available here.

Interest-free loans

The state government is also offering low-interest loans of up to $250,000.

Loans will be interest-free for the first 12 months and are intended to help businesses keep employees onboard and maintain their operation until the worst of the crisis has passed.

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority is currently accepting expressions of interest for the loans. Businesses that are interested should contact the authority here.

Diversification grants

Small businesses in the agriculture, food and fish exporting industries may be eligible for grants of between $2,500 and $50,000, for diversifying their business and accessing new markets.

The grant program is expected to be open for applications in April, and additional guidelines and criteria will be available then.

Fees waived

The government is also waiving various fees relating to small business, including for some variations of liquor licences, registration for inbound tour operators, commercial activity permits, marina charges and tourism rental payments.

Mentoring

Finally, the government is offering tailored advice for small businesses, as well as a series of workshops and forums, to help them expand their business overseas.

Support is also available in things like financial management and business planning.

Read more about the Queensland stimulus here.

Western Australia

Payroll tax grants

In Western Australia, small businesses with a payroll of between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,000.

The grants will be paid automatically by cheque, and are expected to start being ditributed by July.

However, there may be delays for businesses whose tax status changed during the 2018-19 or 2019-20 financial year.

Businesses with payroll of less than $1 million will become exempt from payroll tax, from July 1 2020, as the threshold increases six months ahead of schedule.

Payroll tax deferral

Businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak may also be eligible to defer their payroll tax payments until July 21, 2020.

Deferral is available to employers that pay up to $7.5 million in taxable wages, which have been directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

A business is ‘affected’ if turnover, profit, customer numbers, bookings, retail sales, supply contracts, or other factors have seen a negative impact.

Businesses can apply for the deferral using this form.

Read more about Western Australia stimulus here.

South Australia

The South Australian package is particularly scant on detail, however, the state government has pledged $350 million to safeguard the economy and minimise the economic impact of both the coronavirus outbreak and the bushfires.

The government is expanding its economic and business growth fund, although details of what additional support this will deliver have not been clarified.

Investment in local projects

The government has said it is working on delivering $50 million worth of projects to support local jobs and businesses. This will include road and hospital upgrades and new tourism infrastructure.

To secure funding, projects must be either labour-intensive, require a significant amount of materials and supplies purchasing, or both. They must also be ready for work to begin in a short space of time.

Tasmania

Payroll tax waiver

Tasmania is offering a waiver of payroll tax liabilities for some small businesses.

The waiver will be available to those in the hospitality, tourism and seafood industries, and will apply for the last four months of the 2019-2020 financial year.

Other businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will also be able to apply for a waiver, but eligibility will be based on how significantly the virus has affected the business. Further details on this criteria have not yet been released.

Interest-free loans

The state government is making $20 million in interest-free loans available to small businesses in the hospitality, tourism, seafood production and export sectors.

Businesses with turnover of less than $5 million will be eligible, and the loans are intended to be used for purchasing of equipment, or for restructuring business operations.

Loans will be offered interest-free for three years. Details on how to apply have not yet been released.

Fees waived

Tasmania is waiving fees for certain licences and leases applicable to small businesses.

These include a 50% discount on liquor licensing fees and a waiver on application fees; waiving park entry fees for tourism operators; and waiving of some fisheries fees for 12 months.

Employment incentives

Grants of up to $5,000 will be available to businesses that hire an apprentice or trainee in the tourism, hospitality, construction or manufacturing industries.

Similarly, a youth employment scheme will encourage businesses to hire young people, aged 24 and under, by offering a rebate on payroll tax for one year.

The government has also implemented a $100,000 tourism and hospitality training fund, in a bid to make sure the industry is ready to bounce back effectively when the crisis passes.

Investment in local projects

The Tasmanian government is allocating $50 million to fast-track maintenance on public buildings over the next 12 months.

The investment is intended to help support local trade businesses and self-employed people in this sector.

Read more about the Tasmania stimulus here.

Northern Territory

Small business survival fund

The Northern Territory government has launched a $50 million Small Business Survival Fund, offering grants to small businesses to help the adapt to changed trading conditions,

This will include helping them set up online stores or to pivot to delivery and pick-up restaurant services.

The fund is expected to open for applications on Friday, and more information is due to become available later this week.
Read more about the survival fund here.

Business improvement scheme

Earlier in the month, the government released a recovery plan, including a $20 million business improvement scheme.

Under the scheme, businesses will be eligible for grants of $10,000 for improving business premises. This can include new equipment, new fit-outs and physical changes to attract customers.

It is not currently clear what is required for eligibility.

If they can also contribute $10,000 of their own, they will receive an additional $10,000, for a total of $30,000 funding.

The government is also offering assistance to businesses that have to physically adjust to new social distancing rules, although details of the support are not yet available.

It has also encouraged banks to be flexible in dealing with businesses; asked landlords to consider reducing or deferring rental payments for businesses; and called on the private sector to be flexible in their contractual arrangements.


Australian Capital Territory

Payroll tax waiver

The Australian Capital Territory is offering a one-off payroll tax waiver for businesses in the hospitality sector, for the six months from April to September 2020.

Businesses will have to complete an online application form, although this is not yet available.

Payroll tax deferral

The government is also allowing all businesses with a payroll of up to $10 million to defer their 2020-2021 payroll tax payments, interest-free, until July 1, 2022

The deferral applies to all ACT businesses with Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million.

Again, there will be a form to fill in to apply for the deferral, which is not yet available.

Fees waived

The government is offering a 12-month waiver of all food business registration and on-licence liquor licensing fees, from April 1 2020.

If registration has been prepaid, an additional 12 months will be added to the licence.

It’s also waiving vehicle licensing fees for ridesharing operators, and taxi plate fees, for 12 month from April 1.

These fees will be waived automatically.

Electricity rebates

Businesses with electricity usage below 100 megawatts per year will receive a rebate of $750, regardless of supplier, the government has said.

Again, this rebate will be issued automatically, with no need to contact suppliers.

Investment in local projects

The government has pledged $20 million to fast-track infrastructure projects and maintenance.

Funding will be available for jobs that can start immediately, that will employ local suppliers and workers, and that meet social distancing requirements.

The fund is expected to be utilised before the end of the financial year.

Advice

The ACT government is also offering a small business advice and support service, offering one-on-one business management advice. Business owners will be able to access up to four hours of subsidised, face-to-face tailored advice, plus access to online resources.

The government is also increasing subsidies for apprenticeship and traineeships, and offering access to training opportunities.

Business owners can call the business liaison line on 6205 0900.