The NSW government has announced a $1 billion Working for NSW Fund to sustain businesses, create cash flow and retain employees across government and non-government businesses.
Over $6 billion will go towards waiving or deferring taxes, fees and levies, including payroll tax and licensing and registration fees to support businesses.
In acknowledging the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on certain industries, the government announced targeted assistance, including:
- $50 million for arts rescue and restart
- $27.3 million for sports
- $11.6 million to support the taxi industry
The government said it will extend funding of $39.3 million for the Business Connect program to assist businesses in need of advice in navigating the challenges of COVID-19.
Payroll tax cuts
The government has announced a further permanent increase in the payroll tax-free threshold from $1 million to $1.2 million, which will see 3,500 NSW businesses no longer having to pay payroll tax.
The payroll tax rate will also be cut from 5.45 per cent to 4.85 per cent from 1 July 2020 for two years, with the government estimating a saving to businesses of around $2.4 billion for this fiscal year and the next.
The government has committed $472 million to provide small and medium-sized businesses that do not pay payroll tax with a $1,500 digital voucher for the cost of government fees and charges.
Getting out and about
Up to $500 million will be spent on the Out and About program to stimulate spending in the local economy, including restaurants, visitor sites and cultural attractions.
Under the program, every adult resident will be eligible to claim up to $100 in digital vouchers to spend on eating out and entertainment.
The government will also invest $15 million in a partnership with the City of Sydney to help revitalise the Sydney CBD and help businesses get back on their feet, including through promoting outdoor entertainment and al fresco dining.
Trade and investment
The government has established a $250 million Jobs Plus Program that aims to create or support 25,000 jobs to 30 June 2022 and will support companies who want to relocate their head offices to NSW or expand their jobs footprint in NSW.
The program includes payroll tax relief, up to a four-year period, for every new job created where a business has created at least 30 new net jobs.
There’s also a commitment of $179.8 million to grow the trade and investment network offshore to support NSW businesses in key international markets.
The strategy includes six key hubs globally as well as the appointment of an Agent General in the UK and five NSW Senior Trade and Investment Commissioners in Tokyo, New York, Mumbai, Singapore and Shanghai.
The government has also announced $175 million in additional funding for investment in new film and TV projects.
Training and upskilling workers
The NSW government said it will invest $318.6 million over two years in the Skilling for Recovery training package — to help jobseekers retrain or upskill and support school leavers entering the workforce for the first time.
This training program will be delivered according to its stated commitments under the Commonwealth JobTrainer Fund.
Further, it will invest $57.4 million over four years to create a Trades Skills Pathways Centre to address skills shortages in the NSW economy and support employment for women.
In addition, grants of up to $5,000 will be available to help women with the training and support required to return to the workforce.