WA’s state budget doesn’t appear to offer any new direct support to small businesses; instead, it reiterates previously announced measures under the state’s COVID recovery plan.
According to the budget papers, the 2020–21 budget fully funds the government’s $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan, which was announced on 26 July 2020.
Of the $5.5 billion total, the business package is worth $943 million and includes:
- a bring-forward of the increase in the payroll tax exemption threshold to $1 million to 1 July 2020;
- a payroll tax waiver for the four months between 1 March and 30 June 2020 for small- to medium-sized businesses;
- one-off payroll tax grants of $17,500 for eligible small- to medium-sized businesses;
- a payroll tax exemption for JobKeeper payments;
- a waiver of small-business licence fees, rent relief for commercial tenants of government agencies, and a land tax grant program to support small-business tenants; and
- a $2,500 small-business electricity tariff offset.
The budget does, however, include a record $27.1 billion investment in infrastructure over the next four years to support economic recovery and create a pipeline of WA jobs.
According to the state government, this infrastructure investment will provide a number of opportunities for small businesses including METRONET, rail expansion projects and station upgrades, road upgrades and expansions, and local manufacturing and assembly of railcars.
“The state budget is focused on keeping Western Australia safe and strong,” said Premier Mark McGowan.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, WA still posted a budget surplus of $1.7 billion at the end of the 2019–20 financial year and the economy grew by 1.1 per cent.
The government has projected an operating surplus of $1.2 billion for the 2020–21 financial year, notwithstanding the initiatives announced in the 2020–21 budget.