Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas announced on Saturday a $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package, which includes full payroll tax refunds for the 2019–20 financial year to SMEs with payroll of less than $3 million.
The refund is estimated to see eligible Victorian businesses receive an average of $23,000, and up to $113,975 for some.
“We’ve listened to business and workers and now we’re taking unique and unprecedented action to help businesses and their workers through this crisis,” Mr Andrews said.
The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020–21 financial year until 1 January 2021, freeing up a further $83 million in cash flow.
“Cash is better in the hands of struggling businesses than in a government bank account right now — Victorian workers need us to step up to help get them through,” Mr Andrews said.
The Victorian government also announced it will be offering rent relief for commercial tenants in government buildings and is encouraging private landlords to follow suit. It added that 2020 land tax payments will be deferred for eligible small businesses.
Moreover, the government has committed to paying all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days, releasing up to $750 million into the economy earlier.
The private sector is urged to do the same where possible.
In pledging support to the hospitality sector, Premier Andrews announced that the liquor licensing fees will be waived for 2020 for affected venues and small businesses, while a $500 million Business Support Fund will be set up to support hospitality, tourism, accommodations, arts and entertainment, and retail.
The government will also establish a $500 million Working for Victoria Fund to help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities, including work cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food.
Following on from the federal government, Victoria has also deferred its 2020–21 budget.