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Households, small business to benefit from state stimulus packages

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The Australian government released a $17.6 billion dollar stimulus package to stave off the economic impact of COVID-19, and will release a second one in the coming weeks.

Now it's the states' turn. So far, NSW, WA and QLD have stepped up to the plate.

NSW

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian addresses the media during a press conference to update on COVID-19, at NSW Parliament House on March 17, 2020 in Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addresses the media during a press conference to update on COVID-19 at NSW Parliament House on March 17 in Sydney. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

The NSW government is rolling out its own $2.3 billion dollar package, with health and small business as the key focuses.

$700 million of it will go towards bolstering the medical response to the virus - increased intensive care capacity; additional ventilators; and increased COVID testing.

Of this, $450 million of it has been put aside to waive payroll tax with payrolls of up to $10 million for up to three months.

The package has also allocated $80 million to waive fees and charges for small businesses, while $250 million will go towards hiring additional cleaners for public schools and state-owned businesses.

WA

For its part, the West Australian government has thrown its hat in the ring with a $607 million package.

Households will benefit from $402 million of it.

Household fees and charges will be frozen. You'll still have to pay your bills, but they won't be increased until the next financial year - June 30, 2021.

This covers the entire household basket, including:

  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Car licenses and registration
  • Public transport fees
  • The Emergency Services Levy

The government will also double the Energy Assistance payment (EAP) to $600 million for vulnerable citizens.

Small to medium businesses with payroll between $1 million and $4 million will get a one-off payment of $17500.

In addition, the slated increase to the payroll tax exemption is being fast-tracked. The threshold was due to be lifted from $950,000 to $1 million in January 2020, but this will now go through on July 1 this year.

Meanwhile, paid COVID-19 leave will be available to all public sector employees who:

  • have contracted the virus themselves;
  • who have to self-isolate;
  • need to care for a dependent who has the virus or because of school closure or disruption to other care arrangements; or
  • cannot attend work because of transport or other disruptions.

QLD

QLD has committed a $500 million loan scheme for businesses affected by COVID-19. It comprises loans up to $250 million with an initial 12-month interest free period. It will also extent the six-month payroll tax deferral to affected businesses.

Queensland exporters can apply for a $500,000 industry support grants package "to support agriculture, food and fishing exporters, their critical supply chain partners and industry organisations to build resilience by diversifying into new markets."

Applications for new equipment up to the value of $10,000 (with 25% of the cost contributed by the applicant) will be given top priority. Project-based grants will provide funding up to $50,000, with the applicant co-investing half of the total project funds.

We're cutting through the confusion to help you manage your money during the coronavirus outbreak. Click here for more on how COVID-19 could affect your job, budget, super and investments.

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David Thornton is a journalist at Money magazine. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.
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