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The Western Australian State Government has announced a $607m stimulus package to support WA households and small businesses. The targeted measures will provide welcome relief to families and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The package includes:
- Household fees and charges including water, electricity, motor vehicle charges, emergency services levy and public transport fees will be frozen until at least 1 July 2021.
- This measure is a freeze on existing charges, which means prices won’t increase until at least 1 July 2021. It is important to note, that this measure is a freeze on price increases, not a freeze on payments altogether which means households will still be required to pay new and existing household bills. The measure takes effect immediately.
- An increase in the Energy Assistance Payment (EAP) from $300 to $600. The increase will provide valuable financial support to vulnerable Western Australians who have difficulties in paying their energy bills. The EAP is limited to holders of means-tested Commonwealth concession cards.
Small and medium-sized businesses
- Payroll tax-paying businesses with group Australian taxable wages between $1m and $4m will receive a one-off grant of $17,500 to assist with the impact of COVID-19.
- This is combined with the Federal Government stimulus ‘cash boost’ to employers of between $2,000 to $25,000 (based on PAYG withholding obligations).
- This will provide much needed financial support to employers to assist in retaining employees in the workforce.
- The State Government will also fast track additional payroll tax relief for small businesses with the payroll tax threshold being increased to $1m from 1 July 2020.
- Small and medium-size businesses with group Australian taxable wages of up to $7.5m affected by COVID-19 will also be able to defer payment of their March, April and May 2020 payroll tax liabilities until 21 July 2020.
- The deferral will be available to employers who pay $7.5m or less in Australian Taxable Wages and have been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19.
Overall, the measures will provide valuable support to vulnerable Western Australians and small businesses who are already feeling the impact of COVID-19 and will continue to be impacted as the situation evolves.
With further stimulus measures anticipated to be announced by the Federal Government, it is hoped that targeted support for individuals and small business will provide breathing room during these unchartered times and assist with alleviating fear of the unknown.
RSM will continue to keep you informed of any further announcements of stimulus and support measures by State and Federal Governments.