On Tuesday, the Queensland government announced a six-month payroll tax holiday for impacted businesses and underlined that it will work with these businesses on a payment plan schedule after the time.
Applauding Queensland’s move, Business NSW issued an urgent appeal to the NSW government to follow suit.
“Spending time this week in Batemans Bay (as part of the Australian Chamber’s Executive Board and Council meetings supporting the Backing the Bush initiative), I have seen first-hand how much help these business communities need,” said Business NSW chief executive Stephen Cartwright.
“As much as I dislike patting Queenslanders on the back, this is a move that should be applauded and immediately copied here in NSW.”
Mr Cartwright opined that even more so than Queensland, NSW has the balance sheet capability to accommodate this type of relief.
“It would send a strong message to impacted businesses that we can throw them a lifeline during these unprecedented times.
“It also means any money they do have can go to ensuring their staff get their wages and suppliers are paid on time.”
Mr Cartwright revealed that as early as Tuesday, he reached out to some members of the NSW cabinet encouraging them to launch a similar initiative.
“The scale and magnitude of the recovery effort required in these impacted regional areas needs to be seen to comprehend, and it’s been a sobering experience travelling up and down the coast over the last day or so talking to small business people and their staff who are doing it so tough,” Mr Cartwright said.
Queensland reacts to coronavirus outbreak
On Tuesday morning, Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad announced the introduction of a new payroll tax relief measure, allowing SMEs to defer their payroll tax payment for six months, starting from when Australia’s coronavirus travel ban took effect on 1 February.
“Small and medium businesses are especially vulnerable to these external shocks, so today we are giving them the option to defer their payroll tax obligations for six months, backdated to when the travel ban started on 1 February,” Ms Trad said.
The Queensland government had previously announced a $27.25 million package of measures to help businesses on the Gold Coast, in Cairns and in other popular tourist destinations across the state.
The Queensland Treasury is also set to work with affected businesses to create repayment plans for the deferred tax liabilities.