State & Territory economic updates
Fiscal announcements by State and Territory as a consequence of COVID-19 health crisis.
Updated 18 November 2020
Various State and Territory Governments have been announcing economic stimulus packages in response to the economic status resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis.
In an environment where a cash splurge alone is unlikely to create the necessary stimulus, much of the economic stimulus measures go to addressing the primary business need of requiring support with respect to retention of staff (notwithstanding that this may be in a period of reduced hours).
Click here to view our expert’s breakdown of the State and Territory Governments’ Mandatory Code of Conduct commercial rent relief.
Click here to view our summary of the State and Territory Governments’ residential rent relief.
Click here to view our dedicated page on the State and Territory Governments’ tax relief for landlords.
Click here to view the State and Territory Governments’ payroll tax relief concessions summarised by our experts.
Click below to select a State or Territories update:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT Government announced the following stimulus measures:
Payroll tax and grants
Other fees and taxes
- Licensed venues will receive a 12-month waiver of their food business registration and on-licence liquor licencing fees from 1 April 2020 and outdoor dining fees for 2020-2021 will be waived. In cases where food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the license
- Small business owners with electricity usage below 100 megawatts per year will see rebates of $750 automatically applied to their next electricity bill in around June or July 2020
- The Rideshare vehicle licence fee will be waived for 12 months for Rideshare operators from 1 April 2020 as part of the normal licencing processes. In cases where licences have already been prepaid 12 months in advance, an additional 12 months credit will be added to the license at the next due date. The ACT Government will also waive all government leased taxi plate fees, including wheelchair accessible taxis to help support this vital service
- Commercial property owners with an Average Unimproved Value below $2 million on their property are eligible for a rebate on their commercial rates fixed charge
- A one-off payment of up to $5,000 to tax drivers who lease their taxi plates from private owners
- Deferral of the issue of quarter four commercial rates instalment notices by four weeks
- The ACT Government will also reduce pressure on household budgets by:
- applying a $150 rebate to the fixed charge component of all residential rates bills in 2020-21
- freezing the Fire and Emergency Services Levy in 2020-21 at the current 2019-20 level
- freezing all 2020-21 vehicle registration, parking and public transport fee increases at the current 2019-20 levels
- providing an additional $200 rebate through their electricity bill to households receiving the Utilities Concession
- delay the issue of rates notices by 4 weeks as well as allow those under financial stress to defer rates payments by 12 months, with no interest incurred on the deferral.
Payroll tax waiver
The Australian Capital Territory Government has announced an extension to various business support measures, including a payroll tax waiver for businesses unable to trade, or able to trade on a very restricted basis. According to the ACT Government, the interest-free payroll tax deferral for businesses in the construction industry will also be extended to December 2020. Other measures include:
- Jobkeeper payments will continue to be exempt from payroll tax
- Eligible commercial property owners can continue to defer their rates (interest free) for a further six months until 1 April 2021, and
- Eligible commercial landlords and owner-operated businesses can continue to apply for rates rebates for an additional three months to December 2020.
To support jobs for young people in Canberra the Government has established a support package which will provide:
- A six-month payroll tax exemption for businesses who pay wages for new employees who are apprentices or trainees. The exemption would apply to six months of wages for eligible employees recruited between 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021
- An additional $250,000 for targeted mental health support for young people. This program builds on the Mental Health Support Package previously announced as part of the economic survival package
- A $2 million extension of the ACT Public Service graduate program to provide additional graduate positions over the next two years.
Industry specific and financial support
- The ACT Government is providing support for the Vocational Education and Training Sector by increasing subsidies for apprenticeships and traineeships and other VET students to access nationally recognised training in areas linked to skills needed across a range of industries
- An additional payment of $1.5m will be made, as well as the existing $1.8m in the Clubs Diversification Fund freed up to support clubs to keep staff employed at the award rate
- A $20m Jobs for Canberrans Fund has been implemented, which will provide work opportunities for people in the casual or semi-skilled workforce who have lost their jobs or have been significantly impacted due to COVID-19.
The Government will provide more funding for the removal of dead trees, planting of new trees and maintenance of surrounding areas to redeploy existing government contractors impacted by event cancellations.
The ACT Government will work with non-government organisation partners to develop a $7m Community Support Package to best meet increased service demand for emergency relief. This package will provide food relief and support for vulnerable members of our community.
The ACT Government has re-prioritised funding to provide an additional $100,000 to Lifeline Canberra to increase their capacity to undertake their important work in supporting our community. This funding will enable them to answer an additional 1000 calls each month, over the next six months, supporting our community at this challenging time.
Artists may be eligible to receive funding of up to $10,000 to support art developments and the sustainability of art practices over the next six to nine months through a $500,000 grants program. This may include the development of works to be exhibited or performed into the future, research and development, making new works or sharing of works through online platforms.
Recovery Plan to support local jobs
As part of Canberra’s Recovery Plan to support local jobs, the ACT will significantly reduce the stamp duty for eventual owner-occupiers on the purchase of:
- New land single residential blocks to zero
- Off-the-plan apartment and townhouse* purchases up to $500,000 to zero
- Off-the-plan apartment and townhouse* purchases between $500,000 and $750,000 by $11,400.
This initiative will encourage growth in the residential property construction sector to create and support jobs. This stamp duty concession will be in place for any purchase (i.e. contracts exchanged) in the ACT from 4 June 2020 until 30 June 2021. Contracts exchanged outside of this period are not eligible for the concession. This concession will only apply for eventual owner occupiers. The Government will also extend the Pensioner Duty Concession Scheme for one year. This scheme provides a full or partial stamp duty concession to pensioners purchasing a property valued below the median property value. Stamp duty deferrals will also be extended to all pensioners, regardless of property value.
New South Wales
November 2020 NSW State Budget
Existing COVID-19 Measures
- Grants of $5,000 or $10,000 are available to businesses in eligible areas impacted by the NSW-Victoria border closure. This grant provides immediate, short-term cash flow to help with the costs of keeping businesses operating while the border remains closed. Applications close 18 October 2020
- An export assistance grant is available to eligible businesses who are currently exporting, or were exporting prior to COVID-19, bushfires or drought. The grant is for re-building export capabilities and can be used for marketing, e-commerce development, business support or the compliance of products for export.
Small business recovery grant
The NSW Government has announced a small business recovery grant of between $500 and $3,000, which is targeted at helping small businesses meet the costs of safely reopening or up-scaling operations. The grant is subject to eligible expenses made from 1 July 2020 and only where no other government support is available. Applications open on 1 July 2020 and close on 16 August 2020.
Other fees and taxes
- Waiving of a range of fees and charges for small businesses (including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies)
- Deferral of gaming tax and lotteries tax as well as parking space levies for six months
- Local councils are empowered to delay 2020-21 first quarter rates collections and immediately waive/reduce service fees.
Elimination of stamp duty
NSW has announced the elimination of stamp duty on newly-built homes below $800,000 and reduction of thousands of dollars for properties up to $1 million. Under the changes the threshold above which stamp duty will be charged on new homes for first home buyers will increase from the current $650,000 to $800,000, with the concession reducing on higher values before phasing out at $1 million. The announced changes will also have the stamp duty threshold on vacant land rise from $350,000 to $400,000, phasing out at $500,000. The change to the thresholds will only apply to newly-built homes and vacant land, not to existing homes, and will last for a 12-month period, commencing on 1 August 2020. The NSW Government will also continue to offer a $10,000 First Home Owner Grant, which is available to people buying a new first home worth no more than $600,000, or buying land and building a new first home worth no more than $750,000 in total.
Housing Diversity State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP)
The Government has announced that it will will be introducing a land tax discount for new build-to-rent housing projects until 2040 and a new Housing Diversity State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) to provide more housing options to boost construction and support jobs during the COVID-19 recovery. It was announced that the land tax discount will be equivalent to at least a 50% reduction, dependent on the unimproved land value. The full eligibility criteria for build-to-rent projects will be set-out in guidelines for the industry in coming weeks but some highlights were shared:
- Build-to-rent development in metropolitan areas must be at least 50 units, with a different threshold for regional areas to be considered
- Construction must have commenced on or after 1 July 2020 and the projects must provide purpose built rental units, be managed under unified ownership, and include options for longer leases
- An exemption from foreign investor surcharges will be provided until 2040 for Build-to-Rent developers, and integrity measures will be included to ensure that these discounts are not used for tax avoidance.
Stamp duty-free threshold
The Government has announced that it will lift the state’s stamp duty-free threshold on both newly-built homes and vacant land for 12 months from 1 August 2020. The announcement means the current threshold on newly-built homes will lift from $650,000 to $800,000, with the concession reducing on higher values before phasing out at $1 million. The threshold on vacant land will rise from $350,000 to $400,000, before phasing out at $500,000.
Industry specific and financial support
- $250m to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure and $250m to bring forward maintenance on public assets as well as a further $500m to bring forward other capital works and maintenance
- Extra $700m funding boost to NSW Health to support various activities directly referable to COVID-19
- $1bn Working for NSW Fund created to sustain business, create new jobs and retrain staff – it has already been used to hire Service NSW staff and additional cleaning services
- Increased funding for support with regards to homelessness, energy account assistance and charities including Lifeline
- A $395m fund has been established which is targeted at local councils which includes a job retention allowance of $1,500 each per fortnight
- The Government has also increased the funding to its emergency support Energy Accounts Payment Assistance Scheme, designed to assist households struggling to pay their energy bills during COVID-19.
Rescue and Restart package
The NSW Government has announced a $50m rescue and restart package for NSW arts and cultural organisations. The Rescue and Restart package will be delivered in stages:
- Funding available now to enable organisations to ‘hibernate temporarily’
- Funding available in the coming months to enable organisations to restart operations after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Northern Territory’s jobs rescue and recovery plan is aimed at bringing in customers to small businesses and assisting staff to keep their jobs, and is as follows:
- A $200,000 grant program is available to eligible tourism operators to ensure they are able to survive the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Sporting and active recreation organisations as well as regional councils are encouraged to apply for the second expedited grant round of the Government’s $1.3m Sport and Active Recreation Sector Immediate Response and Resilience Package.
Additional $42 million in stimulus measures
The Government announced an additional $42 million in stimulus measures:
- $20 million for the Small Business Rebound and Adaption Grant – a new grant up to $10,000 when matched dollar-for-dollar to support small businesses to rebound and adapt. Grants open 1 September 2020
- $10 million Territory Tourism Voucher Scheme
- $10 million Immediate Work Grants Scheme – grants for incorporated not-for-profit and community organisations to undertake repairs, renovations and upgrades to their premises/facilities and will be issued to applicants who missed out the first time around. Grants open 1 September 2020.
- $2 million My Territory Local Business Voucher Scheme – a second round of local business-boosting voucher scheme to commence on 1 September.
Business Improvement Grant
This is aimed at helping businesses get customers back into premises by undertaking improvements to a NT business. All eligible businesses will receive $10,000. If the recipient also wants to put in their own $10,000, they will then get an additional $10,000 from the Government. This can create a $30,000 cash pool to spend on upgrades and purchases from other businesses operating in the Northern Territory. This could include buying new equipment, new shop fit-outs and physical changes to attract customers.
Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Businesses can apply for a grant from 13 April 2020. Find out more about the Business Improvement Grant on the Business Recovery website.
Small Business Survival Fund – $50 million
The fund will deliver grants to help keep businesses alive, even when they have to shut.
The fund has three goals:
- Help local businesses survive through the partial or full shut-down period. For example, support in meeting unavoidable fixed costs
- Help local businesses adjust and adapt to take advantage of the new consumer environment. For example, expanding online services, takeaway and delivery
- Prepare local businesses to take advantage of the rebounding economy when the COVID-19 crisis is over. For example, upgrading premises or upskilling staff.
All eligible businesses will receive:
- Immediate survival payment: The immediate survival payment of $2,000 to $50,000 (depending on business size) provides an initial lump sum directed to businesses to help offset immediate cost pressures and provide time to plan
- Rapid adaption payment: The rapid adaption payment provides a payment of $2,000 to $5,000 to offset costs incurred in adapting their current business model to suit restrictions.
Find out more about the Small Business Survival Fund on the Business Recovery website.
Immediate Works Grants Package worth $5 million
This package reintroduces the Immediate Works Grant for incorporated not-for-profit and community organisations (including clubs) to undertake repairs, renovations and upgrades to their premises/facilities. Applicants can apply for grants of up to $50,000 with no co-contribution required. This will be increased to a maximum of $100,000 as the NT Government will match renovations costs that exceed $50,000.
Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Grant applications open 20 April 2020. Find out more about the Immediate Work Grant on the Business Recovery website.
Other fees and taxes
- All Government fees and charges – including electricity, water and car registration will be frozen (no increase due to indexation) until 1 July 2021. Electricity prices for small and medium businesses (those paying regulated tariffs) will be frozen from 1 July 2020 (no increase due to indexation) until 1 July 2021
- Reducing power, water and sewerage bills by 50 per cent for businesses for 6 months
- Arrangements to be made with councils to reduce rates.
Industry specific and financial support
The Worker and Wellbeing Fund can provide support for job losses or reduced income due to COVID-19.
Business Structural Adjustment package worth $5 million
This package will assist businesses who need to physically adjust to the 100 person rule or to establish or upgrade their online presence to adjust to changing behaviours of consumption. All businesses can apply, but the Department of Trade Business and Innovation will be focusing on the hospitality sector first, such as restaurants.
Territory Jobs Hub
Territory Jobs Hub is an online portal that will help Territory workers find a new job quickly. The portal will also help businesses that need workers to connect with those looking for work, including casual and contract work. Read more on the Territory Jobs Hub.
Support for sports and arts organisations
A $2m re-prioritised funding program will support the arts, creative and screen industry sector with a focus on artists, arts groups and not-for-profit arts organisations. Find out more on the Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture website.
Sport and active recreation sector Immediate Response and Resilience program
A $1.3m re-prioritised funding program will support the sport and recreation sector. A specific COVID-19 working group will also be established to guide a response and recovery plan for Northern Territory sport and active recreation, and to ensure organisations can rebound strongly from this current crisis. For more information, go to the Department of Tourism, Sports and Culture website.
Home Improvement Scheme grants of $30 million
Between $4,000 and $6,000 in grant money for NT homeowners and landlords who spend over $5,000 with local NT businesses on repairs, maintenance and improvements to their land and or buildings.
Registrations for businesses to provide services open 30 March 2020. Applications for homeowners open 6 April 2020. Find out more about the Home Improvement Scheme on the Business Recovery website.
- New grants through the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants (MDRG) program which will benefit Queensland agriculture, food and fishing exporters and their critical supply chain partners. The program has two grant components:
- equipment purchases
- Businesses that exhibit animals have been provided financial support to help the care of their animals under a new Queensland Government COVID-19 emergency funding package. In particular, mobile exhibits that show animal collections at a range of venues and very small wildlife parks may not be eligible for the larger funding packages. A fund of $500,000 is available to help operators care for their animals. Eligible animal exhibitors can apply for a one-off grant. Eligible exhibitors include those that are ineligible for existing state and federal funding packages. For more information visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ website or email
- Applications have opened for a third round of the Government’s job-creating Rural Economic Development (RED) Grants. Businesses with a primary production background in regional and rural Queensland are invited to submit an Expression of Interest for round three of the $10m program. Co-contribution grants of up to $250,000 are available for food and agricultural businesses to support ‘shovel-ready’ projects that create jobs for value added primary production and provide significant economic benefits to rural and regional communities. To be eligible to apply for round three, applicants must propose an agricultural supply chain project based in regional Queensland that will generate economic growth and local jobs. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate an ability to provide sufficient finance to match the grant and propose a project that has not already received approval or acceptance under another Government scheme. The RED Grant program is funded for a total of $10m over three years. Expressions of interest for round two close at midnight on 10 July 2020. For more information on the RED Grants including program guidelines, round one and two successful applicant stories and the Expression of Interest form, visit their website or freecall 1800 623 946
- The Government has announced an additional $5m in grants for cluster fencing in Western Queensland as part of its COVID-19 Unite and Recover Queensland Jobs plan. For information about the latest round of Queensland Feral Pest Initiative grants, call the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 or visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website
- Applications are open for the second round of Small Business COVID-19 adaption grants – there is a further $100m available for businesses to apply for grants of up to $10,000
- The Government’s first round of small business grants were snapped up within days. The Government will now allocate an additional $100m for these grants to help sustain small businesses so they can respond quickly post COVID-19. For more information, visit the Government’s COVID-19 website
- Queensland will extend its Back to Work program with a $70 million boost that provides much needed support to businesses for another 12 months to June 30, 2021. As part of this, businesses will be offered a new Apprentice and Trainee Boost of up to $20,000 which will be available to employers who take on an eligible apprentice or trainee under the scheme
- 500 jobs would be created by a $10 million extension to Skilling Queenslanders for Work
- Grants of up to $20,000 to support Queensland’s local clubs to purchase equipment and carry out capital works are now open, delivering further economic stimulus through sport clubs recovering from COVID-19 closures. The special COVID-19 Active Restart Infrastructure Recovery Fund provides grants of up to $20,000 to help clubs back onto their feet after COVID-19 had impacted their seasons. A further $10.8 million is being invested early to the 77 state level organisations and peak bodies to support community sport and recreation as restrictions are eased. For more information, visit the Queensland Return to Play website.
Other fees and taxes
- Give Queensland households $200 off their utility bills
- Small and medium businesses who consume less than 100,000 kilowatt hours may be entitled to a $500 rebate of their energy bills
- Gaming taxes due from March 2020 will now deferred until 2021. The existing deferral for March 2020 gaming taxes, which was due to expire on July 10, has now been extended until 2021. Repayments for gaming taxes incurred in March 2020 will now be repaid in three equal instalments in February 2021, April 2021 and June 2021. Around 50 licensees who have already paid their gaming machine taxes for March have had a total of $1.4m returned to them
- The Government is extending support for tourism operators conducting commercial activities in National Parks until 30 September, under its Immediate Industry Recovery Package. Tourism operators in Queensland are required to pay daily site fees based on visitor numbers when a tour is conducted on national parks, recreational and protected areas and State Forests under a commercial activity permit. On February 18, the Government introduced the Immediate Industry Recovery Package to assist local government, business and industry to mitigate impacts of COVID-19. The extension was initially planned to conclude on July 31 but has been extended for an additional two months to support tourism operators and keep Queenslanders in jobs.
- More information can be found at the Department of Environment and Science website
- Almost 600 community groups will share in $14.6 million worth of Government grants through round 104 of the Gambling Community Benefit Fund. The GCBF grants are worth between $500 and $35,000 and applications are open to not-for-profit organisations. Over the past 25 years, GCBF has distributed more than $947 million to community groups helping Queenslanders. The grants are merit based and funding is allocated by an independent panel. Applications for the Gambling Community Benefit Fund are now open and will close at 11.59pm on 31 August 2020. To see a full list of recipients or to apply for a GCBF grant under round 106 visit the Department of Justice and Attorney-General website. To get in touch with the GCBF team, call 1800 633 619 or email [email protected].
Industry specific and financial support
- A package of up to $500m to assist workers who lose their job or income and to help them find jobs in the industries that are vital to getting through this crisis – health care, agriculture, food production, transport, cleaning and mining
- A support package for international students
- A $54.5m transport package targeting regional air, bus and ferry services, as well as the personalised transport industry (taxis), heavy vehicles and licence and registration fees
- The Government has also extended COVID-19 support for vulnerable multicultural communities with a dedicated $900,000 connections package for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants
- The Government announced funding of $500,000 to support stART, a new ‘quick turnaround grant program’ for Queensland’s independent creative artists, producers, designers, technicians and arts workers
- Now, in the state’s second phase of its strategy, Queensland announced further measures for small business, tradies, farmers, first home buyers, seniors, cabbies, the tourism industry, and artists and musicians
- The Government announced a $150 million rescue package to support Queensland universities impacted by COVID-19 and especially safeguard thousands of jobs in regional Queensland. Queensland’s universities from Cairns to the Gold Coast will be able to apply for loans. Funds will be recouped by the government through a repayment program over the next five years. The Universities Support Package was developed in consultation with Queensland’s vice-chancellors.
- Supply chains support – For manufacturers and businesses having difficulties accessing supplies to continue to operate, employ and meet customer needs, the Government is identifying alternative suppliers of Queensland manufactured goods and services which are vital for businesses
- Trading hours – Businesses that mainly sell food or groceries can open for longer to enable people to obtain essential groceries
- The Mentoring for Growth program has mentors ready to provide tailored support to impacted small businesses, including financial mentoring and business planning. Businesses can also access information and one-on-one support by calling the Small Business Hotline on 1300 654 687 or completing the online survey at Business Queensland
- A $500m loan facility has been announced to enable businesses to retain staff and maintain their operations. These low interest loans will be up to $250,000 with an initial 12-month interest free period
- the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority is responsible for the administration of these concessional loans and is currently taking expressions of interest in the lead up to rolling these loans out as soon as possible. The Government has recently secured an additional $500m in funding for its program of 12-month interest free loans for COVID19-affected businesses, doubling the initial commitment
- The Government has announced a $50m boost for South-East Queensland councils to build new and upgraded infrastructure which will create 750 jobs as part of Queensland’s continued economic recovery from COVID-19. The Government announced further funding as part of the second stage of the Government’s Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan. As part of the $50m Unite and Recover Community Stimulus Package, the State Government will work with Local Governments and the Local Government Association of Queensland to identify shovel ready projects to support more jobs as quickly as possible. This announcement builds on the $200m COVID Works for Queensland program, allocated funding to all Queensland councils which was announced as part of stage one of the Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan
- The Government has announced an additional $23m to support the state’s taxi and limousine operators as Queensland continues its COVID-19 recovery. This includes support payments for operators and licence holders, as part of the second stage of her Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan. The $23m stimulus package includes:
- one-off payments of $3,500 per vehicle to taxi and limousine operators
- one-off payments of $1,000 per licence to taxi and limousine licence holders
- one-off payments of $1,500 to authorised booking entities for each affiliated taxi/limousine, capped at 1,000 vehicles and for entities that provide booking services predominantly for taxis and/or limousines
- one-off incentive payments of an additional $1,000 per vehicle for Wheelchair Accessible Taxi operators.
Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund
The Government will also establish a Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund to invest in other areas of the economy. A further $500 million to be dedicated to direct investment in Queensland business and industry, managed through fund managers, the Queensland Investment Corporation. The fund will support good quality Queensland businesses that need capital to create jobs. Importantly, the Fund will also consider taking ownership positions in assets that have been previously privatised. As well as significant strategic investments, the Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund will target investments in businesses that:
- are small and medium businesses based in Queensland;
- will create Queensland-based jobs;
- have a proven product and defined market opportunity but require significant capital to aggressively build scale or grow market share;
- are relatively mature, well beyond proof of concept and are profitable or approaching profitability;
- are seeking capital to expand or restructure operations, enter new markets or finance significant acquisition; and
- have well established and reputable owners who are committed to growing the business from and in Queensland.
The Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund will have the ability to partner with entities like superannuation funds and other financial institutions.
$1 billion Industry Support Package
The $1bn Industry Support Package will assist large businesses through this period to ensure they will be able to scale up and service the community when economic activity improves. The package will be focused to support businesses:
- Which make a significant contribution to Queensland
- That employ people in Queensland at scale
- Which are significant in a regional context
- That can make a key contribution to a rapid response by the economy as conditions improve
- Which are significantly impacted as a result of COVID-19
- To leverage current support measures and those available from other jurisdictions.
Tourism and Hospitality
- Waiving/rebating/deferring certain fees and charges relief for tourism operators and hospitality providers (e.g. liquor licence application fees, Marina charges and Passenger levies)
- The Government will provide $5m to 15 Queensland airports to secure new domestic flights to fast-track the tourism industry’s economic recovery.
The Queensland Government is funding a $3.66m commercial fishing industry assistance package, including:
- Waiving tropical rock lobster and coral trout quota fees for the first 6 months of 2020, and fishing boat licence fee waivers for these and other fisheries affected by COVID-19, such as mud crab
- Expanding the tropical rock lobster fishery area for 3 months. This will reduce operating costs for quota holders and allow fishers to sell product into other markets while maintaining crew and jobs in the short term
- A local seafood promotion campaign to encourage Queenslanders to support the local fishers by buying local
- Rural financial counselling services will be provided to commercial fishers, fishery supply chain and tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19
- Market diversification and resilience grants to help develop alternative markets.
The Government will invest $5.5m to use new technologies to improve biosecurity and food safety to help build the reputation as a trusted, quality supplier to global markets. The Government will encourage new trade relationships, by investing $5m to sponsor e-commerce platforms for Queensland products in overseas markets, creating new and improved channels to market for Queensland producers. The package also includes $2m for diversification assistance – to build capability in agricultural businesses to explore potential tourism opportunities and promotional activities.
Energy and Resources
The mining industry is looking for new minerals such as vanadium which are in demand for technology such as battery storage, and Queensland has huge potential to open up new reserves in its regions. The Government will commit $10m to promote exploration activity for new economy minerals for emerging technologies under the Collaborative Exploration Initiative. The Government will invest $650,000 to develop small businesses in this sector across the state, including Gladstone and Rockhampton.
Renewable energy is a growing sector and an opportunity to create new jobs. The Government will invest $17m in a state-of-the-art Renewable Energy Training Facility in Brisbane to provide world class training for solar and renewable energy.
Renewable Energy Fund
The Government will invest $500 million in a Renewable Energy Fund that will mean the state-owned energy corporations can increase public ownership of commercial renewable projects and supporting infrastructure. The Renewable Energy Fund would continue the pace of Queensland’s renewable revolution that had already seen 41 large-scale renewable energy projects commence operations, under construction or financially committed since 2015, representing about 6500 jobs. The fund will complement our $145 million commitment to establish three renewable energy zones to foster jobs and growth in regional Queensland.
Air travel is a key component to enabling the tourism industry and the significant economic benefits it brings, and the Government will commit $15M to airline route support. This package will support and encourage the domestic tourism spend across Queensland and bring back airline capacity faster than it would have returned otherwise. National parks are critical to tourism and the Government will commit $8.93m under a works and jobs boost to provide visitor infrastructure upgrades and enhancements to re-energise nature-based tourism.
Environmental projects and jobs in the Great Barrier Reef catchments
The Government also announced the government would invest $10 million to deliver priority environmental projects and jobs in the Great Barrier Reef catchments. This $10 million Reef Assist program will provide unemployed and underemployed Queenslanders with temporary nature-based employment, delivering up to 200 jobs in hard hit regions like Mackay, Townsville and Cairns and across areas such as improving resilience to natural disasters, improving water quality, habitat restoration, and weed and pest management. Local organisations will be invited to identify shovel-ready projects, which could include practical, on-ground work such as streambank rehabilitation, planting trees, pest and weed control, and landscaping.
The Queensland and Australian Governments have implemented a range of support and assistance for the arts sector, including:
- Arts Queensland assistance – grant funding boosts, expanded criteria and time-frame extensions for:
- Individuals Fund – funding increased to $500,000
- Queensland Arts Showcase Program (QASP) – funding increased to $2m
- Australia Council for the Arts Response Package – grant and reporting relief, funding adjustments, online learning series, First Nations support, digital support.
The arts and culture sector has been significantly impacted by the pandemic with performances unable to occur and spaces closed. The Government’s $22.5m package will help support the recovery of the arts and culture sector. This includes $11.3m to offset revenue losses in the music and performing arts venues.
The Spaces and Places Program
The Spaces and Places program opened recently, offering up to $250,000 for the creation of vibrant new works for festivals and events, public art installations, and performing arts tours which will drive regional economic outcomes. This program’s arts and cultural initiatives will support tourism, employment, local venues and contribute to the health and wellbeing of our regional communities. Likewise, the reshaped QASP program also opened recently, has been designed in consultation with the arts sector to help stabilise arts companies, support employment, and deliver COVID-safe cultural experiences. Three funding streams; Arts Accelerate, Arts Activate and Arts Advantage, will be available under QASP as quick response funding rounds of up to $30,000 for sole-funded initiatives, and up to $60,000 for projects with co-contribution from the applicant, or other funding source. QASP now has an increased focus on delivering social outcomes within communities, recognising the power of the arts to influence social, health and educational outcomes for Queenslanders. Expressions of interest for Spaces and Places funding must be submitted by 21 August, while applications for the first round of the reimagined QASP close 14 August. For information on Spaces and Places and QASP, and other funding opportunities visit the artsQueensland website.
The Building Acceleration Fund
The Government has unveiled a $200 million infrastructure initiative to accelerate the plan to Unite and recover for Queensland jobs. The Building Acceleration Fund will work in partnership with councils, property developers and industry to accelerate projects that unlock development, increasing construction activity and supporting long-term jobs. Applications for funding through the Building Acceleration Fund would open soon for projects ready to commence construction within 12 months of funding approval, that demonstrate substantial flow-on economic benefits to local communities. Co-investment funding will be provided for successful projects as an interest-free loan so they can start construction now and repay over 15 years. The proponent must also co-invest 10 to 50 percent of the total infrastructure project cost, depending on the scale of the project. Infrastructure projects are generally defined as roads, water distribution, sewerage/wastewater, stormwater infrastructure – however other categories of infrastructure will be considered provided they meet the eligibility criteria.
As part of the $17.5m plan to protect families of health workers, thousands of Queensland’s front-line health workers could be provided free accommodation if they want to self-isolate. Details of the plan are included below:
- $17.5m over six months to cover accommodation
- Open to staff working in Intensive Care Units and dedicated COVID-19 wards
- Money provided to Queensland Hospital and Health Services to ensure staff could be accommodated as close to home as possible
- The program would be reassessed in six months.
Queensland will also invest an extra $1.2bn to expand:
- Fever clinics
- Emergency department capacity
- Acute care services
- Regional aero-medical services for our remote communities.
Resources project support
A multi-million-dollar package will support the survival and revival of Queensland’s explorers to maintain the state’s pipeline of resources projects and jobs. The package includes:
- A 12-month waiver of rent on exploration land due between 1 April and 1 September
- A freeze on fees and charges until 1 July 2021
- Releasing almost 7000 square kilometres of land for gas and mineral exploration
- Bringing forward $2.8m in grant funds for innovative exploration in the North West Minerals Province.
Resources Community Infrastructure Fund (RCIF)
Queensland’s regional workers, their families and the communities they live in will receive more funding to assist in the post-COVID recovery, following the finalisation of arrangements for the Government’s $100m Resources Community Infrastructure Fund (RCIF).
- RCIF will deliver $100m over three years towards projects targeted at improving economic and social infrastructure across Queensland’s resources communities
- Under a Memorandum of Understanding, the State and the Queensland Resources Council have settled arrangements for resource companies to make contributions to the voluntary fund totalling $70m over three years.
Household Resilience Program
The Government announced a renewal of the highly successful regional Household Resilience Program as part of its Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs stimulus package.
- It has been renewed with an extra $11.25m after the program’s proven results to support local jobs and save on household insurance premiums
- The Household Resilience Program, provides grants to support people in cyclone affected areas to improve the resilience of their homes.
Queensland homeowners will be able to cyclone proof their homes through the Household Resilience Program, with applications opening under Phase 2 of the Program. The program was being reopened with a $21.25m top up from the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments, after the program’s proven results to support local jobs and save on household insurance premiums. Queenslanders living on low incomes in cyclone prone areas in north Queensland may be eligible for Government assistance to increase the cyclone-resilience of their homes. Local, licensed contractors, can provide eligible residents with a quote to undertake building work valued at a minimum of $3,300 to improve the cyclone resilience of eligible homes.
The building industry is vital to Queensland and there is a need to stimulate demand for tradies across the state over the next six months. The Government is re-affirming its commitment to the $15,000 first home-owner grants program for any Queensland first home buyers purchasing a new home valued at less than $750,000. The Government will also provide an additional $5,000 grant for people building a new home in a regional location, helping to encourage people to move to regional Queensland. Additionally, the Government has committed to a further $100m Housing Construction Works for Tradies program – with new social housing to be built across Queensland. Councils in South-East Queensland will receive an additional $50m for a Unite and Recover Community Stimulus Program to support minor works and projects that create local jobs in our most impacted areas.
A Seniors Accessibility and Renovation Assistance boost to Home Assist will be provided to around 2,000 seniors and people will a disability who will receive additional subsidies of up to $5,000 to help them stay safely in their own homes, such as security upgrades, repairs and maintenance. This will provide a $10m boost with more work for local tradies and handymen.
Business Support package
- $400m for an ‘Accelerated Works’ program to deliver new road, bridge and pavement sealing works across the state
- $200m in 2020-21 for a ‘Works for Queensland’ program to support jobs and fund building projects
- $50m for tourism infrastructure and more funding towards a domestic tourism campaign
- redirecting $50m of industry attraction funding under the ‘Making it for Queensland’ initiative to continue to expand manufacturing capacity for PPE, hand sanitiser and medical supplies to respond to COVID-19
- $20m towards construction of a Queensland Apprenticeships Centre in renewable hydrogen at Beenleigh
- $20m for free online training which includes training in safety and hygiene standards to keep COVID-19 contained
- $14.8m to support project development of the ‘CopperString 2.0’ project that will connect the North West Minerals Province with the national electricity market.
Support to workers
Support is now available for Queensland workers who test positive for COVID-19 and have no access to paid sick leave. While many Queenslanders have access to paid sick leave or pandemic leave there were still many Queenslanders who are left out, particularly those in casual employment. If a casually employed Queenslander who is not eligible for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payment contracts COVID-19, they will have no access to an income during their time away from work. This will also be available to any employee who has exhausted their sick leave or pandemic leave entitlements, and tests positive to COVID-19. This payment will provide affected workers with a one off $1500 payment to cover their unpaid sick leave. To be eligible for this payment you must have been employed, test positive to COVID – 19 and have no access to paid sick leave or pandemic leave. The Department of Employment, Small Business and Training will work closely with Queensland Health to ensure when these Queenslanders’ are tested positive for COVID-19 that they are referred to the Department for this assistance.
Queensland Resilience and Risk Reduction Fund (QRRRF)
More than $13m is now available through the Queensland Resilience and Risk Reduction Fund (QRRRF) to help local communities better prepare for future disasters. The funding is part of the Commonwealth and Queensland Government’s five-year commitment to improve safety and disaster resilience across the state, with investment of $4.8m from the Commonwealth and $8.3m from the Queensland Government. Eligible applicants include Local Governments, Queensland Government departments and agencies, and incorporated not-for-profit-organisations. The QRRRF is administered by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.
Skills Focus Queensland
The Government is partnering with a globally successful online training company to provide a world first for small businesses and employees impacted by COVID-19. Go1 are well-known for providing a platform for major firms and companies across the world to access training lessons pivotal to businesses. In a first for the company, this training library will be made available to Queensland small businesses and their employees. The Queensland Small Business Skills Hub provides access for small businesses and their employees to around 400 online courses in topic areas such as Leading a Successful Business, Digital Skills and Foundation Business Skills. The second GO1 portal, Skills Focus Queensland, will provide access for Queenslanders whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19 with approximately 400 courses across topic areas such as CV Writing and Interview Preparation, Sales, Finance and IT. Small business owners and operators will also be able to create their own training programs for their employees.
The Skills Focus Queensland portal will have courses across a number of topic areas including:
- Job Finder and Skills Booster, such as CV writing and interview preparation
- Accounting and Finance
- Sales and Customer Service
- Programming and IT.
Access to the GO1 online library is part of the Government’s $500m Workers Assistance package under the Government’s Economic Recovery Strategy – Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs to support employment and enable future economic growth. The intention is to expand available training courses available by partnering with other service providers that offer online courses. Small businesses can access the Queensland Small Business Skills Hub GO1 training library via the Business Queensland website.
South Australia has come out with their extended stimulus measures as follows:
- Relaxing the existing criteria requiring an employer to maintain their overall employment levels for a full year to be eligible for the second anniversary Job Accelerator Grant (JAG) payment
- Claims for the second JAG will be assessed on staffing levels as at 31 January 2020 rather than the relevant 2 year anniversary date
- The Government has announced a $500,000 ‘eCAP program’, whereby small to medium exporters can apply for up to $10,000 in grant funding to diversify their business model to include an online platform.
The Government has advised that the State will be offering “isolation payments” of up to $1,500 for eligible workers who are required to quarantine. The requirement to quarantine must be as a result of receiving a positive COVID-19 test or as a result of a public health directive. In addition, there will be a separate upfront “testing payment” of $300 for eligible workers in an identified COVID-19 cluster, who are required to self-isolate while awaiting a COVID-19 test result or as a result of a public health directive. Both payments may also be available for carers. People who consider they meet the eligibility criteria will be required to apply for the payment through an online application process, to be administered by the Department for Human Services.
Other fees and taxes
- $1bn injected into the economy (inclusive of the original $350m announced)
- Liquor license fees will be waived for businesses forced to close due to social distancing. This applies for a number of license categories.
Fee relief for Mineral and Petroleum Sectors
- Deferral of costs linked to exploration and licence fees for the minerals and petroleum sectors to alleviate the impact of containment measures
- 12 month waiver of committed expenditure for all mineral exploration licence holders
- Expansion of allowable expenditures towards minimum Petroleum Retention Licence requirements during a period of low oil prices.
Fee relief for Nature based Tourism Businesses
- Commercial tour operator licence fees waived for 6 months from April 1
- Rents for properties leased on crown land are also waived.
Industry and financial support
- $300m fund to support individual businesses and industry sectors directly affected by COVID-19
- $250m community and jobs fund supporting sports, arts, not-for-profits, and other sectors facing potential collapse and loss of jobs
- Top priorities of these funds is the ongoing survival of entities and minimising job losses. Not for expansion opportunities at this stage.Queries and submissions should be sent via [email protected] and [email protected].
- $4,300 ex gratia payment per metropolitan taxi to the taxi operators
- Waiving of a full year of operator accreditation and vehicle fees for metropolitan taxi operators.
$13.8m to support South Australian international education sector to cover:
- $10m fund for university students significantly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions at University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia
- $500 emergency cash grant to other international students currently enrolled and living in South Australia
- One off $200 assistance payment per student in a home stay arrangement with South Australian families.
The Tasmanian economic stimulus will be:
- The Government will provide one off grants up to $750 to fight the impact of COVID-19 for small businesses
- $5,000 grants for businesses that hire an apprentice or trainee
- The Targeted Apprentice & Trainee Grant for Small Business is being extended for small businesses that employ an apprentice until 30 June 2022
- New $40m to the Small Business Grants Program:
- $20m set aside for emergency grant support (grants of up to $2,500)
- $20m for larger grant payments
- Grants of $15,000 for those small businesses experiencing severe financial hardship, but should first apply for the Small Business Emergency Support Grant. Open to businesses with less than 50 FTE employees who:
- can meet the hardship test
- demonstrate an ability to continue to operate in the current environment and provide products and services necessary for the Tasmanian/Australian community
- may need to cease operations temporarily but can demonstrate strong prospects for future jobs sustainment and growth.
Other fees and taxes
- Water and electricity bills will be waived for the 1st quarterly bill received after 1 April this year for small business customers on Tariff 22, 94, 82 or 75 in those small business on market contracts that could access those tariffs
- Electricity prices will be capped and water prices will be frozen next financial year
- The Government will freeze all fees and charges subject to the Government Fee Units Act 1997
- Various components of motor tax and vehicle registration will also be waived where that business has been significantly impacted by measures taken to manage COVID-19
- The Government will waive annual taxi licence fees for the calendar year 2020 at a cost of $240,000.
Industry specific and financial support
Funding to help the workforce
- Local Government Loan Scheme will be extended from $50m to $150m
- Rapid Response Skills Initiative boosted by an additional $6.3m
- Businesses that have an immediate job need and opportunities available, can access a job-ready pool, including to match people to the immediate skill needs such as in health and food retail industries
- Up to $3,000 for individuals to help gain skills and licenses.
Small Business Support
- Increase of the Small Business Interest Free Loan Scheme from $20m to $50m
- available to businesses with turnover of less than $10m
- Business vehicle registration relief
- freeze for light and heavy vehicle registrations (can be reactivated for free after a maximum of 12 months)
- heavy vehicle registration and motor tax waivers for 12 months.
Small Business Hardship
- Provide A Digital Ready for Business Program to be boosted to $400,000 to assist business owners taking business online
- Small business customers will have their next quarterly energy bill waived.
Seafood and fishery support
- The Government will provide an additional $1.8m for fisheries fees and licence relief for 12 months
- This initiative is in addition to the 12 month waiver for annual fees for Rock Lobster, Giant Crab, wild capture Fin Fisheries and Abalone Divers.
Creative and cultural industries
The Government will provide $1.5m to support the Creative and Cultural Industries. The programs to be funded include:
- $500,000 for an Arts and Screen Digital Production Fund
- $250,000 one-off funding for script and other development activities
- $250,000 to support contemporary musicians to record music and video for digital distribution and business relaunch
- $500,000 to support additional Arts organisations not currently funded.
The Government will also extend arts organisation contracts due to expire by one year.
Critical air freight
The Government will provide $2.6m towards air freight services for time sensitive freight.
Primary Healthcare Grants
- $5m will be available to primary healthcare sector to support pharmacists and GPs
- Grants of up to $10,000 is available to eligible GPs and community pharmacists
- Funding criteria: It will be necessary to identify expenditure to support delivery of services such as equipment, workforce and infrastructure (minor capital works).
Wine Tasmania’s industry engagement projects
- The Government announced an additional $50,000 to expand Wine Tasmania’s industry engagement projects
- The funding will assist Wine Tasmania to undertake a wide range of workshops, presentations, training and resources for wine producers.
The Victorian Government has announced an economic survival and jobs package with the below measures announced over time:
- Small businesses with annual Victorian payroll taxable wages below $650,000 are able to apply for $10,000 grants from Monday 30 March
- $2.6m in grants will be made available for all early childhood services delivering a funded kindergarten program to boost their cleaning and hygiene during this pandemic
- Following the ‘Stage 3 Stay At Home’ announcement for specific postcodes in Victoria, the Victorian Government has announced a Local Lockdowns Business Support Program specifically for businesses that are operating within a postcode affected by the return to Stage 3 restrictions. These businesses, subject to eligibility, can apply for a one-off $5,000 grant to help them get through to the other side of the local lockdown. The program closes 31 July 2020
- The Government will provide a further $137 million in waivers and deferrals of charges including liquor licence fees, the congestion levy and increases to the landfill levy. The 50 per cent stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property across all of regional Victoria will be brought forward to 1 January
- Over $1.1 billion in cash grants will support small and medium sized businesses that are most affected by COVID-19 restrictions including $822 million as part of the third round of the Business Support Fund. Around 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on their size. More than 108,000 businesses have already shared in $1.47 billion from the first two rounds of Business Support Fund grants.
Multicultural media outlets
The Victorian Government is backing multicultural media outlets across the state with grants for new equipment and technology.
- Up to $500,000 is available to enable multicultural outlets to continue to deliver high quality news, entertainment and information, while also increasing their engagement with readers, viewers and listeners
- Under the small grants stream, outlets can apply for between $2,000 and $9,999
- Funding of between $10,000 to $25,000 is available under the major grants stream.
Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package
The Government’s Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package will provide $87.5 million to councils and businesses outside of Melbourne’s CBD to make widespread outdoor dining safe, practical and a reality this summer. $58 million will go towards grants of up to $5,000 to help hospitality businesses pay for the practical things that will make this plan work – umbrellas, outdoor furniture, screens and other equipment. The grants will be available to licensed and unlicensed cafés, restaurants, takeaway food businesses, pubs, taverns, bars and clubs with a payroll of less than $3 million – with more than 11,000 businesses eligible to benefit. Funding of $29.5 million will be provided to local councils to help them implement swift and streamlined permit, enforcement and monitoring processes to support expanded outdoor dining in the Third Step in our roadmap to reopening. Metropolitan councils and regional city councils will be eligible for up to $500,000 in assistance, while rural councils will be eligible for up to $250,000. This money can also be passed on to businesses in the form of reducing or waiving permit fees or invested in infrastructure such as streetscaping and lighting. Recognising that Melbourne’s CBD has suffered as the Government has acted to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Government will also create a landmark $100 million fund to reshape Melbourne’s CBD in partnership with the City of Melbourne. There are more than 16,500 businesses registered in the City of Melbourne, supporting more than 479,000 jobs. The Melbourne City Recovery Fund will provide grants to city businesses, helping them to move outdoors with COVIDSafe events and rebuild our vibrant CBD. Small and medium businesses will be able apply for $30 million worth of grants to pay for equipment, convert spaces like rooftops and courtyards into hospitality zones and remodel internal layouts to allow for the better flow of patrons. A further $30 million will support COVIDSafe events and cultural activities to attract visitors back to the CBD when it’s safe to do so. Another $40 million will go towards providing physical improvements to the CBD streetscape, which could include wider footpaths, bollards and street planter boxes. A new $100 million Sole Trader Support Fund has been established. The Fund will provide grants of $3,000 to eligible sole traders working in sectors of the economy that will continue to be affected by restrictions, like media and film production, creative studios, outdoor entertainment and in private museums and galleries – as well as gym owners. To be eligible for a grant, sole traders must be a tenant or licensee in a commercial premises or location and operate in a sector of the economy that is restricted, heavily restricted or not opening under the Second Step of the Roadmap. For more information about business support initiatives, go to the Business Victoria website.
Music industry support under COVID-19 normal
Government’s latest round of initiatives, includes grants of more than $13 million, to help prepare Victoria’s $1.7 billion music industry for a vibrant, COVID Normal future. Some 106 live music venues across the state, including the Northcote Social Club, Queenscliff’s Blues Train, Westernport Hotel in San Remo, Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal and Loop in Melbourne’s CBD, will share in grants totalling $9 million in the first allocations under the Victorian Live Music Venues program. The grants will support venues that have closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19 to cover urgent overheads and put COVID safe measures in place. They will also assist venues to reopen and host events when it is safe to do so, providing employment for artists, promoters, technicians and other workers. The venues grants will also help offset costs associated with enforcing patron caps. A second round of cash allocations to other eligible venues will be announced in due course. Under Victoria’s roadmap to reopening, indoor live music venues can reopen at the Last Step with density quotients and patron caps in place. Patron caps will be lifted when the state moves to COVID Normal. A state-first planning policy will further protect Victoria’s live music venues during the pandemic and beyond. Proposed new permanent planning controls will allow councils across the state to identify significant live music precincts and consider the social, economic and cultural importance of live music venues as they make decisions on local planning permits. This will mean that when a site that is home to a live music venue is slated for redevelopment, councils will have strengthened power to protect the music venue as part of any new proposal.
Musicians, music businesses and music industry workers will receive support through a series of new initiatives. The Victorian Music Industry Recovery program is a new $3 million grants initiative that will offer grants of between $4,000 and $50,000 to support artists, managers, promoters, bookers, road crew and other workers to keep creating music, undertake professional and business training and develop COVID safe ways of working. Recognising that summer is usually a bumper period for the music industry, the program will focus on activities taking place from December onwards. It includes dedicated streams for First Peoples and Deaf and Disabled applicants. Applications will open at noon on Monday, 21 September and close on 22 October 2020.
A further $1.2 million has been allocated to 10 music organisations and peak bodies to deliver professional and business development programs to a diverse range of Victorian music industry professionals. Among the initiatives is Push Records, a new youth-led record label and training program by The Push; a wellbeing training and mentorship program for roadies and live music events professionals by CrewCare; and creative development program for First Peoples musicians and industry workers by Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation. This vital music industry support is part of the Victoria Government’s $90 million investment to help the state’s creative industries through the impacts of the pandemic.
Also launching is the latest round of the Pride Events and Festivals Fund. Organisations are invited to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for events and projects for LGBTIQ communities which can be run online before 30 June 2021. Total funding of $200,000 is available. The Pride Events and Festivals Fund is now in its third year. For the first time, all events must be able to take place online and be held in line with current COVID-19 restrictions at the time of the activity. The full list of music venues supported through the Victorian Live Music Venues program to date is available at Creative Victoria website. Guidelines for the Victorian Music Industry Recovery program are also available on this site.
Live Music Venues Program
The Government is supporting live music venues to respond to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with a new program providing grants to help pay wages and basic business expenses. The Government announced the creation of the $15m Victorian Live Music Venues Program to secure the future of grassroots venues. The Victorian Live Music Venues Program will be open to venues across Victoria with a capacity of 50 to 1,200 people. It will support venues that have a solid reputation for presenting original live music and demonstrate best practice in business operations. The $15m program is in addition to $4m previously announced for the music industry focused on supporting musicians and industry workers who have lost gigs, income and employment as a result of the pandemic. Applications for the Victorian Live Music Venues Program will be open from 16 July to 6 August. Guidelines and application details will be made available on the Creative Victoria website.
Support Package for Animal Exhibitors
Animal exhibitors who have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions will get help to cover the costs of food and care for their animals, thanks to support from the Victorian Government. The Government announced a $1 million support package that will help animal exhibitors such as mobile petting zoos and travelling reptile exhibitors to ensure their animals are looked after while their businesses remain unable to operate. The Support Package for Animal Exhibitors will provide funding to purchase feed and to cover the specialised costs associated with housing and caring for exhibit animals. The funding recognises the impact of the restrictions on animal exhibitors and the ongoing need to provide food, housing and other essential welfare requirements. Animal exhibitors can apply for support online at Agriculture Victoria’s website.
Business Adaptation grants program
Food production businesses and farms in Victoria will be supported in making their workplace safe and keeping supply chains uninterrupted. The Government launched the Business Adaptation grants program, part of the Working for Victoria Agriculture Workforce Plan, to support food supply chain businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas. Under the program:
- Individual grants of between $10,000 and $300,000 will support eligible businesses to meet health, safety and social distancing requirements or adapt to business changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Adaptations may include changes to transport used to take employees to and from work to ensure physical distancing, changes to employer-supplied accommodation, or the creation of extra washrooms and other facilities
- Grants can also be used to buy machinery or appliances needed by businesses to adapt to maintaining operations during the pandemic
- Each grant will cover up to 50% of the costs of individual adaptation projects, with the remainder to be covered by the business.
Business Support Fund – Expansion program
The Government has announced further economic support measures for businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, including payments of up to $10,000 to those in Melbourne. The grants are an extension to those announced in July, with businesses in regional Victoria now also eligible to apply. The Business Support Fund – Expansion program covers:
- $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of spending longer under restrictions; and
- $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire).
According to the Government, businesses which have already received a grant, or have applied for one, will not need to re-apply. More information is available on the Business Victoria website.
Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants Program
Victorian agricultural and pastoral societies will be supported to continue putting on events and upgrade infrastructure through support from the Government.
- $300,000 in funding will go to 39 societies from across Victoria as part of the program
- Grant packages of up to $10,000 will help societies to upgrade or establish:
- new facilities
- encourage greater local involvement in show activities
- create opportunities for agricultural businesses to engage with the community
- enhance business activities to help in show planning.
Biodiversity Bushfire Recovery Grants
The Victorian Government is continuing to support the recovery of the state’s devastated bushland and biodiversity with a new grants program to help fund rehabilitation works following the summer’s unprecedented bushfires. The Biodiversity Bushfire Recovery Grants will provide a total of $900,000 for on-ground works, community education and capacity building projects. The funding will support projects in the North East, East Gippsland and South West regions of the state where the fires had an unprecedented impact on Victoria’s precious plants and wildlife. The program is unique because it not only provides funding for the rehabilitation of public land, it’s also available to fire-affected private landowners focusing on environmental conservation on their properties.
Successful applicants can access grants of up to:
- $10,000 for eligible individuals
- $30,000 for environmental volunteer groups
- $50,000 for volunteer-based environmental networks.
In recognition that fire affected communities are also dealing with current public health measures, building projects that include online training to maintain skills and promote information-sharing are also eligible for grant funding.
Creative Recovery grants
Victorian communities affected by the summer bushfires will be given a boost through Creative Recovery grants as part of the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments’ Community Recovery Package. The $700,000 Creative Recovery program will run in the Alpine, East Gippsland, Indigo, Mansfield, Towong and Wangaratta shires – fostering a series of projects to help communities to reflect, rebuild and recover. Regional Arts Victoria will deliver the program, in partnership with Bushfire Recovery Victoria, Regional Development Victoria and Creative Victoria. It will back tourism-boosting projects and events, support creative businesses to bounce back and fund two new on-the-ground roles to support and train local creatives. Recruitment is under way for two Creative Recovery Officer roles, to be based in East Gippsland and the North East. The officers will work shoulder-to-shoulder with local creatives and community members to identify potential projects, develop grant applications and build connections to help get projects off the ground. Later this month, applications will open for the Creative Recovery grants which will support the development of creative projects to assist in the social and economic recovery of impacted communities. The grants will also offer practical assistance for local creatives including the replacement of lost tools and equipment, payment of rent for workspaces, and professional and business development. The Public Galleries Association of Victoria will also work with galleries in Wangaratta and East Gippsland to deliver public programs that support recovery. For full program details, visit Regional Arts Victoria’s website.
Transport Accident Commission Grants Program
The Government is giving local councils across Victoria the chance to receive up to $100,000 for projects focussed on making local roads safer, through a Transport Accident Commission grants program. The grants program offers local councils the opportunity to apply for funding for a range of projects including:
- Low-cost infrastructure treatments, which address cyclist or pedestrian road safety issues in a local community and are based on sound research or established road safety principles.
- The trial of innovative treatments, including evaluations and safety infrastructure.
- Analysis of pedestrian and cyclist road safety issues and risk factors which will provide the basis for potential road safety measures and design processes.
Local councils can apply for grants of up to $30,000 for analysis projects, and up to $100,000 for safety upgrades. Information on the grant program, including dates, guidelines and how to apply can be found here. Applications are open until 3pm on 19 August 2020.
Let’s Stay Connected Fund
The Government is helping communities to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic through a new grants program to support local initiatives. Applications are now open for the Let’s Stay Connected Fund, with grants available for community organisations, local government bodies, incorporated not-for-profits and industry groups. Grants of between $5,000 and $200,000 are available to support innovative, community-based initiatives that build connection, reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation and that can be implemented quickly – providing much-needed support across the state. The $1.3 million fund could potentially help community groups continue to operate by adapting the way they deliver programs or events, including through online forums. Other possibilities include support for communities to improve their digital skills and access online communication channels, or new ways for people to continue volunteering within their communities while maintaining physical distancing requirements. The fund responds to advice from the Government’s Regional and Metropolitan Partnerships highlighting the link between social connection and community wellbeing and complements existing measures including the Victoria Together online portal that showcases the best of the state from live music and comedy to interactive exhibitions. Applications for the Let’s Stay Connected Fund are open until 31 August and applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible at the Let’s Stay Connected website.
Other fees and taxes
- Liquor licensing fees for affected venues and small businesses in the hospitality sector will be waived
- The Government will freeze all fees and fines that were due to be increased in July 2020 at current levels (e.g. car registration, traffic infringements, court-imposed penalties and permit fees), freeze the Fire Services Property Levy, and defer the planned Landfill Levy increase
- Victoria has announced the deferral of the collection of rent and annual fees worth $3.5m until January 2021 to aid the immediate cash flow of mines, quarries and exploration companies.
Licensed motor car traders (LMCTs)
The Victorian Commissioner of State Revenue has announced a temporary measure to assist LMCTs by extending exemptions from motor vehicle duty available on demonstrator or service demonstrator vehicles from 12 to 18 months. This applies to a vehicle registered
- As a demonstrator vehicle (between 1 March 2019 and 30 September 2020)
- Service demonstrator vehicle (between 1 July 2019 and 30 September 2020).
Industry specific and financial support
- A Business Support Fund of $500m will be established to support the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail
- A $500m Working for Victoria Fund will be established for job opportunities and job-matching
- A $45m fund has been established to support international students in Victoria facing hardship as a result of COVID-19, which will provide a payment of up to $1,100 each for students who have lost their job or had a significant reduction to their employment and are facing financial hardship
- $14m will be shared between Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Phillip Island Nature Parks to ensure they can continue to operate and retain permanent staff until it‘s safe to open their doors again
- Extra resources will be made available to kindergartens to help children learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic with the announced $900,000 in grants for new programs and extra staffing at kinders not yet receiving funding through the $160m School Readiness Funding initiative
- The Government announced the ‘Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund’, a $350m fund which will support universities with capital works, applied research and research partnerships.
Multicultural and multifaith support
The Victorian Government is supporting multicultural and multifaith families to ensure they stay connected to their communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes:
- $11.3m in funds will be provided to help these communities, which are facing their own unique challenges due to social isolation, language barriers or difficulties accessing services such as income support, Medicare or Centrelink
- Nearly $5m to support vulnerable and at-risk youths and families in financial hardship who need essential items such as food and clothing
- $2.2m to provide basic needs assistance to thousands of asylum seekers
- $1.1m toward culturally appropriate family violence prevention and early intervention services
- $1m to boost translated messaging across Government departments, so Victorians with English as a second language can better navigate their way through the pandemic.
Casual public sector workers
Under Commonwealth Government guidelines, casual public sector workers such as swimming pool lifeguards or staff at the Melbourne Aquatic Centre, ticket staff at the Melbourne Museum or the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre or park staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens are ineligible for the JobKeeper program.
- The Victorian Government will alter this by making sure these workers can access their usual fortnightly payments of up to $1,500 before tax, up until the end of September, provided they are happy to be redeployed to other public sector roles where demand for more resources is high, such as healthcare
- The package will support 3,000 workers and, unlike the Jobkeeper program, it will be available to workers regardless of their age whether they are an Australian Citizen or not. Public sector casual workers will be eligible for the payment regardless of their length of service.
Sport, tourism and creative industries
The Government is backing Victorian sport, tourism and creative industries, with $150m to save jobs and ensure our best experiences are available on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Experience Economy Survival Package will support:
- Sporting clubs and competitions across the state – from grassroots to elite
- Major tourist attractions, galleries and museums, and the racing industry.
The package includes:
- $40m for community sport and recreation bodies including state sporting associations, leagues and clubs – to help them return strongly after the pandemic
- $16m will go to national sporting organisations
- $5.3m will support the State Sport Centres Trust and the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust
- $44m in the state’s racing industry, to help secure jobs and bolster racing clubs across the state
- $11m for Victoria’s tourism industry, with funding for the Emerald Tourist Railway Board (Puffing Billy) and other not-for-profit and privately-owned visitor attractions, plus regional tourism boards and the Victorian Tourism Industry Council
- More than $32m will support creative agencies and initiatives, including funding for the Geelong Arts Centre, Museums Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Recital Centre
- $6m for live music industry workers and to bolster the oversubscribed Sustaining Creative Workers initiative.
- These funds are in addition to the $16.8m support package announced for creative industries and bring the total survival package for jobs in the creative sector to more than $49m.
Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program
The Victorian Government has established the Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program – a collaboration with the Apprenticeship Employment Network, the peak body for group training employers to help apprentices and trainees displaced by the COVID-19 crisis to complete their apprenticeships and training and find work. This program will:
- Work actively to encourage impacted apprentices, trainees and employers to sign up to a register and will then assist them to stay engaged with their training and to place them with appropriate employers – by helping them to complete their apprenticeships or traineeships, the program will ensure participants are well placed to contribute to a skilled and productive workforce as Victoria moves towards a period of recovery
- This initiative builds on the Government’s $4.7m funding to extend the successful Apprenticeship Support Officer program, to continue to support apprentices
- A further $43.8m investment was made to lift the quality of apprenticeships by supporting the introduction of independent assessments, updated learning materials and the reintroduction of trade papers
- The register is up and running here.
Sustaining Creative Workers initiative
A $16.8m survival package for Victorian creative organisations and individuals. It will support creatives, across all creative disciplines, to continue to work in their creative field, adapt to change, research and develop projects, develop their product or skills, and/or connect with new audiences or markets.
- A further $2m was allocated to boost the $2.2m Sustaining Creative Workers initiative, which has seen high demand since opening on 30 April, including from many in the music industry.
- The support is part of a $49.1m response by the Government to safeguard the state’s creative industries and jobs.
Music Industry Support package
The Government announced a dedicated $4m Music Industry Support Package including:
- $2.5m for the development of new work which can be released now or be ready to launch or tour when restrictions are lifted
- $1.5m for training, professional and business development, and mentoring for music industry workers, including the many who work behind the scenes and have been heavily impacted.
Building Works package
A $2.7bn Building Works package has been announced that will build the projects and create jobs that include:
- More than $1.18bn in education infrastructure projects
- The Government will fix old buildings, deliver extra classrooms and build ten brand new schools in a state-wide construction blitz that will create thousands of jobs across the state and kickstart Victoria’s economy.
- Hundreds of projects that have been selected because they can get underway as soon as possible, within a matter of weeks and months
- Boost for public and community housing, with half-a-billion dollars to upgrade 23,000 dwellings and build 168 new homes across the state
- $382m in upgrades, maintenance and new experiences at tourism destinations across the state – from delivering 50 kilometres of mountain bike trails in the Ararat Hills to upgrades at the Gippsland Lakes, this investment will be particularly vital in creating and sustaining jobs in regional Victoria
- Funding for local sports facility upgrades, work to improve waterways and coastal areas, and revitalisation and maintenance projects from tree-planting to graffiti removal in communities across the state
- $328m for resurfacing and patching roads, around 300 kilometres of regional track improvements, repairs at more than 15 train stations, more maintenance on trains and trams, and local pier upgrades along the coast, adding to Victoria‘s $107bn job-creating Big Build
- More than $100m for the critical upgrades of CFA and SES stations, disability accommodation, mental health and aged care facilities across Victoria.
Growing Suburbs Fund
The Victorian Government is boosting funding for new and improved community facilities across Victoria’s fastest growing suburbs. This is through a major expansion of the Growing Suburbs Fund, with an extra $25m to bring forward delivery of new facilities and upgrades that improve communities and their access to vital services. The Fund will also be extended for the first time, to include six peri-urban councils experiencing strong population growth, ensuring projects are being delivered where they are needed most. The councils that will now have access to the Fund are Baw Baw, Golden Plains, Macedon Ranges, Moorabool, Bass Coast and Surf Coast. Previously the Fund was only available to Melbourne’s 10 interface councils.
Social Housing Stimulus Package
Victorians experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic will have their emergency accommodation extended and services will have more time to provide tailored exit pathways. The Government announced almost $10m in funding to keep people experiencing homelessness in their current accommodation and plan their pathway out into more stable long-term housing. The $9.8m package includes additional Housing Establishment Funding for agencies to continue placing clients in temporary hotel accommodation and will also create nine data roles to work within newly created Homelessness Emergency Accommodation Response Teams throughout Victoria. Improved data collection will allow the Government to have a greater understanding of the housing and support needs of people in temporary accommodation. The funding will also temporarily boost intake systems with nine extra Initial Assessment and Planning workers in areas of highest demand across the state. These roles will coordinate with local services to ensure each person in a hotel has the support they need to achieve stable housing, and identify their best housing options, be that private rental, supported accommodation or social housing. The funding builds on a series of recent announcements by the Government to ensure people at risk of or experiencing homelessness are protected and remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes nearly $15m in emergency housing, isolation and COVID-19 recovery facilities, and almost $90m for rapid response housing refurbishments and new housing builds as part of a broader $498m social housing stimulus package.
Victorian Business Growth Fund
The Government opened the $250m Victorian Business Growth Fund – an innovative program that will see the Government partner with First State Super and back small-to-medium enterprises who want to grow but can’t raise the funds or find the right investment partner. The Victorian Business Growth Fund is a Victorian-first initiative that will invest in business on commercial terms and take an equity stake in business, rather than providing a grant. As businesses continue to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19, accessing the capital they need to grow is likely to become an even greater barrier than it was before. The Government will partner with the superannuation industry to back these businesses in to grow. Decisions about investments will be made by independent fund manager Roc Partners. For more information about the Victorian Business Growth Fund or to apply online, visit the Department of Treasury and Finance’s website.
Business Support Package
The new $534 million Business Support Package will provide more support to help businesses and workers through to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new package includes:
- The expanded Business Support Fund providing more than 80,000 eligible businesses with a new $5,000 grant to support them through the renewed restrictions. This grant was previously made available to the 12 postcodes linked to outbreaks. It will now apply to all areas under Stage 3 restrictions.
- A $30 million dedicated fund for Victoria’s night time economy to support the hardest hit businesses in hospitality.
- $26 million in mental health support will ensure Victorians dealing with the compounding challenges of running a small business can get the support they need as they navigate their way through the crisis.
- A $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis.
- A $40 million capped fund for regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds.
- A $20 million fund to support small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD that are faced with a large and sustained shock to their trading environments.
Businesses will also benefit from an extended and expanded payroll tax deferral. Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year. Please visit the individual program pages linked below to register.
Business support under COVID-19 normal
The Government will invest $44 million to equip businesses with the support they need to thrive under a COVID-19 Normal. It includes $20 million for small businesses to access off-the-shelf digital programs such as Shopify or Squareonline, training and workshops designed to help businesses adapt to online operations. Victoria is home to some of the best fresh food, wine, galleries and homewares in the world – but the pandemic has hit many small producers hard. The Government has already rolled out Click for Vic, a new website and campaign aimed at encouraging Victorians to support these hard-working local businesses. Already the website has generated 211,000 leads to businesses featured – this will be boosted with $8.5 million for more marketing and advertising, and expanding the digital platform and its partnerships with third-party e-commerce providers to sell these strengths far and wide. Exports are vital to Victoria’s economy – contributing 12 per cent to Victoria’s GSP and 330,000 Victorian jobs. The Government has launched a $15.7 million export recovery package to address logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, and establish new export channels. Businesses will be connected to international markets through virtual trade missions as well as assistance to adapt their export strategies to respond to the rapidly changing global market. Additional details about support for businesses will be made available at the Business Victoria website.
The Government has announced targeted funding to attract seasonal workers to regional Victoria and ensure farmers have the hands-on-deck they need to get produce to plate. It announced a $17 million package to help address seasonal workforce shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and reiterated the call for farmers to register their workforce needs on the Working for Victoria platform to be matched with eager jobseekers. The package includes more than $6 million to boost the supply of COVIDSafe accommodation for seasonal workers, including working with councils and local accommodation providers like motels and caravan parks to explore accommodation options for regional seasonal workers. To help connect workers to jobs as quickly as possible, the Government will also employ new Seasonal Workforce Coordinators who, along with new Engagement Officers, will link local industry groups, employers, labour hire agencies, local government and other stakeholders. The Engagement Officers will also provide additional support to culturally and linguistically diverse communities, who traditionally make up a significant portion of the seasonal agricultural workforce. Farmers and agribusinesses will be further supported with $10 million from the Agriculture Workforce Plan to extend the Business Adaptation Grants – helping workplaces meet health and safety requirements and adapt to distancing changes imposed by the pandemic, with grants of up to $300,000. Upcoming employment opportunities in the agriculture sector include fruit and vegetable picking and packing, grains harvesting, grain receival centre work, and other roles essential to seasonal harvest. The Government has advocated strongly for the Commonwealth to lead a national approach to support farmers ahead of the harvest and shearing seasons beginning across the country. The Government will join other states in helping local employers take part in the Commonwealth’s Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme, and will continue talks on what greater role the Commonwealth Government can play in assisting Victorian agribusinesses to find workers. The Government led the development of the Agriculture Workers Code with New South Wales, to give certainty to farmers and agricultural workers that border closures will not stand in the way of their vital work. Jobseekers can register now and be alerted when opportunities in the sector appear on the site. To do so and to find out more about the Agriculture Workforce Plan go to the Agriculture Victoria website.
Regional tourism businesses fund
The Government will establish a $40m capped fund for regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds, as well as marketing campaigns to boost region to region visitation while Melbourne is locked down. Eligible operators will be able to claim up to $225 per night for up to 5 nights for each and every room cancelled due to the return of Stage 3 restrictions, provided they refund the booking in full.
Aboriginal COVID-19 Response Fund
The Government is giving Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and Traditional Owner group networks the resources they need develop Aboriginal-led, culturally safe responses to COVID-19. The Government announced an extra $23m to support Aboriginal Victorians through the pandemic. The package includes $10m to establish the Aboriginal COVID-19 Response Fund, to give local organisations the funding they need to develop responses at a local level over the coming year. The fund provides immediate support – including emergency relief, outreach and brokerage, social and emotional wellbeing initiatives – as well as cultural strengthening and celebration opportunities. The package also includes $13m over two years to meet an increase in ACCO service demand. This will provide support for Elders, homelessness services and stable housing, education support and resourcing for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) to provide specialist health supports. Dedicated funding is also included for Registered Aboriginal Parties to ensure they have the technology and skills needed to continue working remotely and care for Country during the pandemic. A COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Taskforce was set up in April to inform the Government’s coordination of services to Aboriginal Victorians, which includes ACCO and departmental representatives. To support the community, the Government is providing $35m for Aboriginal organisations to build, upgrade and maintain social and transitional housing, $2m to ACCHOs in wellbeing and social supports, $287,400 in targeted business support and a further $100,000 to improve and create targeted health messaging.
Infection Control Skill Set Project
Workers across the state will receive free accredited training to help them manage the ongoing risk of COVID-19 infection in their workplace and keep the state open for business. The Government announced up to $10m in funding to boost Victoria’s economic recovery through a national infection control skill set project, in partnership with the Commonwealth. The project will deliver free short courses to workers in customer-facing roles in areas such as retail, food handling, transport and logistics, to ensure they can help their business operate safely. The courses will help keep the community safe and will support businesses to reopen and help workers maintain their own safety, identify hazards and infection risks, and stop the spread of COVID-19. The training will be a mixture of online and workplace learning and involve up to 25 contact hours, to ensure students can implement infection control procedures effectively. Enrolments will open at Victorian TAFEs and other providers from 1 July, and training under the program will be available for a year. Workers and businesses can get more information from their local TAFE, Skills and Jobs Centre, or online through the Victorian Skills Gateway.
Free TAFE program
The Government will expand its signature Free TAFE program as part of a major new package of investments to boost skills, create jobs and drive the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government announced $163m in targeted investments that will make it easier for people with pre-existing qualifications to retrain so they can get work in sectors that need more skilled workers. It includes funding to get more Victorians impacted by COVID-19 into training, particularly women and young people, in the second half of this year, for jobs in industries that will drive economic recovery. The package will create 10,000 more free TAFE places, and expand free TAFE to include new full qualifications linked to jobs and government priorities. These qualifications include Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work, Certificate III in Health Services Assistance, and Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations. The announcement will also increase the availability of targeted short courses to support upskilling for existing employees, and help retrenched workers and job seekers join professions where there are jobs available. This includes the course in Introduction to the NDIS (skill set), as well as $3.9m for an additional 11,000 places in accredited short courses and skill sets in construction across TAFE and industry-owned Registered Training Organisations until June 2021. The Government is also allocating $1.25m to improve literacy, numeracy and digital skills to help more Victorians progress to further study or employment.
COVID-19 worker support payment
The Government will extend the COVID-19 worker support payment to make sure Victorians don’t have to choose between the safety of their workmates and their community – and putting food on the table. Under the scheme, a one-off payment of $1,500 is available to workers who are unable to work during their isolation, have no income during this period, and are not entitled to any paid sick leave, special pandemic leave or other income support. The Government will now extend the scheme to ensure that as soon as a person is tested, they will be eligible for a $300 support payment from the Victorian Government – as long as they meet the eligibility of the existing scheme. This will ensure workers don’t have to pay the price for following health advice while they are waiting for their results – meaning they can afford to isolate immediately and avoid spreading the virus further through workplaces.
Commercial Passenger Vehicles
The Victorian Government is supporting the taxi and commercial passenger vehicle industry, ensuring the safety of drivers and vulnerable passengers relying on these services throughout the pandemic. Based on advice from the Government Advisory Panel on Commercial Passenger Vehicles, the Government will invest $22 million towards a range of initiatives to boost the industry and support vulnerable Victorians who rely on the service and drivers who have lost work with the reduction in trips. More than $6 million will be invested to subsidise the depot fees paid by vehicle owners to ensure wheelchair accessible vehicles are available for those who need them, while $1.7 million will double the wheelchair lifting fee paid by Government for the next three months to give providers incentive to keep wheelchair vehicles operating. The Multi Purpose Taxi Program subsidy will also be increased from 50 to 70 per cent per fare over the next three months to make rides more affordable for people who need them for essential journeys. Relief for the industry will come with a refund of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Service Levy paid by drivers in the 2019/2020 June quarter, putting money back into the pockets of drivers experiencing hardship. In addition to these subsidies, there will be new strict cleaning standards applied across the taxi and commercial passenger vehicles for drivers and booking service providers based on the expert advice from the Department of Health and Human Services. To ensure the safety of all passengers and drivers, the Government will deliver up to $3.5 million worth of grants to support increased cleaning and sanitation of vehicles across the state – further reducing any risk of transmission in vehicles alongside the Government’s mandatory masks policy for those in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. The Government will invest $1 million to establish a regional essential service fund to support struggling booking service providers in regional communities that rely on their services, ensuring vulnerable regional Victorians – including the elderly or people living with a disability – do not lose access to these vital services. This package comes on top of measures the Government has already implemented to support the commercial passenger vehicle industry, including the pausing of regulatory fees, and the $1500 COVID-19 Worker Support Payment, for drivers who contract the virus or are required to self-isolate. The support package will begin rolling out in the coming weeks to support drivers through the pandemic and ensure the thousands of Victorians who rely on commercial passenger vehicles for essential travel have access to vehicles close to home.
The Western Australian economic stimulus will be:
- Payroll tax paying businesses with a payroll between $1m and $4m will receive a one-off grant of $17,500
- Grants of $20,000 are available to any homebuyer who wishes to build a new house or purchase a new property in a single-tier development (such as a townhouse) prior to completion of construction.
Community Relief Fund
The Water Corporation has launched a one-off round of grants to support not-for-profit organisations and community groups across the Kimberley that have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
- Grants of up to $10,000 are available through the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, which is an extension of the Kimberley Community Grants Scheme, delivered by the Water Corporation and the Lions Club of Broome.
To find out how to apply for a grant and eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, visit the Water Corporation’s website.
Regional Economic Development (RED) Grants program
The RED Grants program supports locally driven projects that contribute to the economic growth and development of regional Western Australia and the Government has committed $28.8m over five years towards the regional grants program. It is now opening round three of the program and investing up to $6m in regional projects to sustain jobs and build business resilience.
- Round three RED grants will have a particular focus on projects which help sustain jobs, expand or diversify industry, build skills and capacity, attract new investment and maximise the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic impacts.
- Applications are now open and close on July 7 2020 – grant funding allocations will be determined at a regional level.
More information about the RED Grants program, including guidelines and application details are available here or through the State’s nine Regional Development Commissions.
Community Litter Grants
To coincide with World Environment Day, the Government has opened up applications for funding as part of the 2020 Community Litter Grants program. Community groups, schools, small to medium-sized enterprises and Local Governments are invited to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for major initiatives or regional projects, or $5000 for local area projects. The Keep Australia Beautiful Council’s (KABC) 2020 Community Litter Grants aim to support projects and initiatives that focus on changing littering behaviour. Successful projects will help to reduce litter at events, sporting and recreation venues, shopping and commercial precincts, roadsides and waterways, and will target the incorrect disposal of cigarette butts and takeaway food containers, and initiatives that reduce litter. Applications for Community Litter Grants close on Friday 24 July 2020, with successful applicants announced in KAB Week 2020 which runs from 17-23 August 2020. For application guidelines and more information on the grants program, visit the KAB website.
WasteSorted E-Waste Grants Program
The Government announced the launch of the new WasteSorted E-Waste Grants program which will be funded from the New Industries Fund (NIF). E-waste (short for electronic waste) is any item with a plug, battery or cord that is no longer working or wanted. The new grants program from the NIF will support projects and innovations that reduce the amount of e-waste ending up in landfill through increased waste collection and recycling. Grants of up to $200,000 are available to support businesses and partnerships to fund research and development of innovative processes to recycle and reuse the e-waste; and up to $80,000 is available for organisations, including local governments, to support an increase in the volume of e-waste collected for recycling. The $16.7 million New Industries Fund was established to support and accelerate new and emerging businesses to diversify the Western Australian economy and create new WA jobs. The WasteSorted E-Waste Grants complement national action and support the WA Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 objectives to avoid waste, recover more value and resources from waste, and protect the environment from the impacts of waste. In addition to the WasteSorted E-Waste Grants, the Waste Authority business plan includes $150,000 for e-waste research to further increase WA e-waste recycling rates. Applications for WasteSorted E-Waste Grants are now open and close on November 16, 2020. For more information about the grants, visit the Waste Authority website.
The Government has launched GroundSwell to assist small regional businesses accelerate their growth, create jobs, become more globally competitive and ride out the effects of COVID-19. Expressions of interest are now open for experienced organisations that deliver programs to assist regional businesses realise performance improvements and adopt technology for enhanced penetration into external markets. The GroundSwell program will provide grants of up to $200,000 to deliver targeted entrepreneurship and technology training and support programs in regional Western Australia. The program is specifically designed to assist regional entrepreneurs build globally competitive and diverse businesses through improved education, network building and opportunity realisation, as well as support existing regional businesses take up new and emerging technologies and business models.
The Regional Arts Resilience Grants Program
A new $1m grant program will provide vital funding to support ongoing creative and cultural activity in Western Australia’s regions. The Regional Arts Resilience Grants Program, delivered by Regional Arts WA, will offer up to $15,000 to regional artists, cultural practitioners, and arts and cultural organisations. The grants will support creative development, community engagement and capacity-building projects (such as professional development and business development) that abide with COVID-19 restrictions. The first round of the Regional Arts Resilience Grants Program opens for applications in July 2020. This grant program forms part of the Regional Arts and Cultural Investment Program (RACIP), which will deliver almost $20m to regional Western Australia over four years. The RACIP program is administered by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
Regional Western Australia will become a hive of arts and cultural activity thanks to three grant programs opening this month, as part of the Regional Arts and Cultural Investment Program (RACIP). Made In WA will provide up to $150,000 for applications that support the creation and presentation of new performing arts work that is relevant to regional audiences and will be premiered in regional venues. The Aboriginal Arts Commissioning Fund offers up to $300,000 for regional Aboriginal artists to develop new, large scale work in dance, music, writing, theatre craft or visual arts. The fund aims to encourage the expression and preservation of regional WA Aboriginal cultures, communities and identities. The Regional and Remote Festivals Fund offers up to $50,000 to support the presentation of arts and cultural activities at regional and remote festivals. The funding may assist with expenses such as travel, accommodation, salary, equipment hire or the delivery of community engagement activities as part of a festival. All three grant programs open on September 30, 2020. Visit their website for more information. The RACIP will provide almost $20 million over four years to regional Western Australia.
WA Recovery Plan
The Government has released the comprehensive WA Recovery Plan – the next important step in WA’s COVID-19 journey that will help drive economic and social recovery across the State, and create a pipeline of jobs for Western Australians. The plan has been developed in consultation with the State Recovery Advisory Group, which includes representatives from business, industry, not-for-profit organisations, UnionsWA, the public sector, local government and the community. It was developed with State Recovery Controller Sharyn O’Neill, who oversaw an extensive consultation process providing high-level and strategic advice on the impacts of COVID-19. It is an overarching plan, focused on getting Western Australians back to work and will deliver long-term economic and social outcomes in the suburbs and regions. The unprecedented $5.5 billion investment will create thousands of local jobs in important sectors such as construction, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, renewable energy, education and training, agriculture, mining and conservation. As part of the plan, the Government will invest more than $60 million for ‘shovel-ready’ maintenance upgrades to vital State Government facilities. This includes improvements to disability access at train stations, refurbishments of WA Police stations and upgrades to Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service and Career Fire and Rescue Service stations. The police maintenance and refurbishment program includes works at stations including Belmont, Collie, Mandurah and Williams. The maintenance work is expected to get underway within weeks and will create an immediate boost to workers such as electricians, painters, plumbers, builders and carpenters. The Government also announced, as part of the WA Recovery Plan, a $66.3 million renewable energy technology package to create jobs, reduce costs and improve WA’s renewable energy footprint. The WA Recovery Plan includes $2.77 billion in relief and stimulus measures already approved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full details on each element of the comprehensive WA Recovery Plan will be released in coming days and will be available here.
Horizon Power’s $180,000 initiative
Eight regional CCI groups to benefit from Horizon Power’s $180,000 initiative. The grants will assist regional small businesses in business planning and campaigning The Government is investing in the revitalisation of regional Western Australia through an initiative which will provide support and services to small businesses as they recover from COVID-19. Vibrant Regional Businesses is a community-led investment program developed by Horizon Power in collaboration with eight regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry groups. The groups include East Kimberley, Karratha & Districts, Carnarvon, Exmouth, Broome, Derby, Port Hedland and Esperance Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The initiative is ensuring regional small businesses receive the expertise and support they need to adapt to the ‘new normal’. Small businesses will have the opportunity to benefit from a range of practical and essential business recovery services, including business mentoring and planning, digital innovation, buy local campaigns and networking opportunities. Between $10,000 and $30,000 will be administered by each of the eight regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry groups, commencing this month.
International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund Grant Program
Regional agrifood and beverage businesses targeting export markets have been given a boost, with the Government’s International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund grant program now open. Grants of between $50,000 and $100,000 to help businesses pursue premium markets in Asia will be available from the first round of the $800,000 International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund. The grants will assist businesses to stabilise and adapt their business to the ‘new normal’ of doing business in a changing global operating environment. Recipients will be able to invest in a range of areas that stimulate business growth, like improving scale, diversifying markets, product quality, competitiveness and supply chains, or that develop innovative ways to engage with Asian markets, customers or consumers on virtual or online platforms. The Government recognises the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional agrifood and beverage businesses and has responded by lowering the co-contribution requirement of this round of grants to one third. For more information about the International Competitiveness Co-investment Fund visit their website. Applications close 11pm Wednesday 12 August 2020.
$20,000 Building Bonus Grant
Western Australian home builders can now apply online for up to $45,000 in government grants, with the release of a joint application form for the Building Bonus and HomeBuilder grants. The Government’s $20,000 Building Bonus grant is available for owner-occupiers or investors who enter into a contract to build a new home on vacant land or enter into an off-the-plan contract to purchase a new home as part of a single-tier development. The Commonwealth Government’s $25,000 HomeBuilder grant is available to eligible owner-occupiers who enter into a contract to build a new home or substantially renovate their existing home, or purchase a new home off-the-plan. Contracts for the grants must be entered into between June 4, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Eligibility criteria apply to each grant and contract type, including the requirement to commence construction within six months of the contract date for the Building Bonus grant and within three months of the contract date for the HomeBuilder grant. Following changes to the Commonwealth’s HomeBuilder criteria for commencement of construction, the State Government has decided to also amend the Building Bonus criteria to ensure the two schemes align and increase opportunities for people to access these grants. For new builds this will mean people will be eligible to receive the grant when significant earthworks, excavation or physical building work commence. Details of commencement definition for each contract type is provided in the application form. For eligibility criteria or to apply, visit the WA Government website.
Exploration Incentive Scheme’s (EIS) co-funded drilling program
Applications for Round 22 of the Exploration Incentive Scheme’s (EIS) flagship co-funded drilling program opened recently. This round follows the n Government’s $5 million EIS funding boost as part of the WA Recovery Plan. The additional funds will increase the EIS to $15 million in 2020-21, resulting in an extra $3 million being available across co-funded drilling Rounds 22 and 23. The program encourages innovative drilling in greenfields and under-explored areas of Western Australia. By the end of Round 19, 808 projects had completed 868,300 metres of drilling that resulted in more than 29 discoveries. Explorers can receive a refund of up to 50 per cent for innovative drilling projects, with caps of $150,000 (multi-hole project), $200,000 (single deep hole), and $30,000 for prospectors. Round 22 closes at 5pm on Friday September 18, 2020. For more information, visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s website.
Agrifood and beverage businesses
The Government is making up to $700,000 available for agrifood and beverage businesses to grow and diversify their operations. The second round of the Agrifood and Beverage Voucher Program is now open, with businesses encouraged to apply for vouchers of up to $10,000 to access expert advice. The Western Australian program supports small to medium enterprises to engage a professional consultant or technical expert to support their business across nine categories: Business Planning; Quality Assurance; Market Positioning; E-Commerce Planning; Digital and Technology Advice; Export Capability Building; Technical Expertise; Planning for Investment; and Transitioning to Manufacturing. Vouchers are available for eligible agrifood and beverage businesses across metropolitan and regional areas on a dollar for dollar co-contribution basis. Applications close on December 11, 2020. More information is available at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s website.
Other fees and taxes
- $100.4m allocated to waive a range of licence fees for small and medium businesses in COVID-19 impacted industries for the next 12 months
- From 23 March, late payment penalty tax will be remitted in full for those taxpayers who demonstrate COVID-19 has directly or indirectly affected their financial circumstances
- Businesses can apply for interest free payment plans if required
- 6 month grants of liquor licenses for the sale of liquor with takeaway or delivered meal
- Applications fast tracked and fee waived
- No small businesses facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 will face power or water disconnections due to late payments
- No interest will be charge on deferred bill payments
- The Government also announced an extension of the disconnection moratorium for residential water and electricity customers from September 30, 2020 to June 30, 2021
- $600 one-off WA Household Electricity Credit for all Western Australian households
- Reduction in the Emergency Services Levy, wastewater and drainage charges following the McGowan Government’s decision to pass on lower GRVs
- A freeze on electricity and water tariffs, motor vehicle related charges and public transport fares for 2020-21.
Non-residential water charges
Regional businesses will benefit from a delay to planned increases in non-residential water charges across 10 regional schemes. Water Corporation non-residential water charges in regional Western Australia comprise of a uniform state-wide meter-based service charge, and a consumption charge that varies based on location (referred to as ‘steps’). After a 2013-14 review of regional non-residential charges, the Government decided that customers in a number of regional areas were not paying the correct price for water. Since that review, charges for non-residential customers in a number of regional schemes have been increasing, rising by one step per year. From 1 July 2020 customers in 10 schemes would have another one step increase in their water charges: The Government will defer this increase as part of its support package to assist businesses and the community through the financial impacts of COVID-19.
Relief to fixed wastewater service charges
Businesses who are eligible for JobKeeper payments with four or more fixtures for customers (toilet, urinal or pan washer) can apply to have their wastewater service charges waived (4th to 200th fixture inclusive) for the period of 1 May 2020 to 31 August 2020.
- Businesses can receive up to approximately $41,000 in relief through this measure
- The scheme will be implemented on an application basis via the Water Corporation’s website or by calling its customer contact centre – applications will open from 2 June 2020.
Household fees and charges
The total representative household basket of fees and charges will decrease in Western Australia in 2020-21, saving households up to $63.52. This is the first time that the household model in its current form has decreased. The one per cent reduction in 2020-21, costing the Budget an additional $37m, primarily due to the Government’s decision to pass on the 13 per cent average fall in gross rental values (GRVs) to the owners of metropolitan properties.
Households will now either receive a freeze or a reduction in GRV-related State Government charges, including the Emergency Services Levy (ESL), and wastewater and drainage charges. While regional GRVs have not yet been revised by the Valuer-General, the McGowan Government will freeze regional household GRV related charges for 2020-21. Household wastewater and drainage charges will fall on average by around $23.52.
Around 55 per cent of metropolitan households will receive a fall, and 45 per cent of metropolitan households and all regional customers will receive a freeze. This comes after $402m was allocated in the State Budget to freeze the entire household basket of fees and charges for the first time since 2004-05, including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges and public transport fares, saving households $127 which was the expected rise.
Businesses will also benefit from the lower GRVs through a reduction in the ESL. The average ESL for metropolitan commercial properties will fall by around $127 and by around $169 for industrial properties. This relief is in addition to the $2,500 offset paid to thousands of small businesses to assist with utility charges during the COVID-19 pandemic. This delivered more relief to businesses than freezing tariff increases, and equates to around 10 months of electricity supply for the average small business.
As outlined in the Budget, electricity business tariffs will rise by 3.7 per cent in 2020-21, while non-residential water tariffs will rise by 2.5 per cent to reflect the cost of supply. Eligible hospitality and tourism businesses with four or more wastewater fixtures have also had wastewater charges waived between 1 May to 31 August 2020. The Government is also waiving more than 250 business licences for 12 months for a wide range of businesses impacted by COVID-19. This includes trade licences such as those for painters, plumbers and electricians; vessel accommodation and mooring fees for tourism operators and commercial fishers, plus fishing licences; booking service fees for the passenger transport industry; liquor licences for the hospitality sector; real estate and settlement agent fees; and planning.
Community and business based grants
More than $1.5 million in community and business based grants is being made available by the Government as part of its commitment to reducing waste in Western Australia. Applications are expected from infrastructure based projects that can deliver better waste management practices and education projects which can improve awareness of the need to reduce waste. Grants of up to $250,000 are available to support investment in local recycling infrastructure, and of up to $50,000 for educational programs. The grants are available to businesses, charitable recycling organisations, local governments, regional councils, peak industry bodies, not-for-profit organisations and research and educational institutions. The WasteSorted Grants – Infrastructure and Community Education 2020-21 replaces the Community and Industry Engagement program, which since 2017 has invested $4.5 million in Western Australian programs which improved the recovery and reuse of focus materials including plastics, construction and demolition waste, textiles, and food organics and garden organics. For more information on the WasteSorted Grants or to apply for funding, visit the Waste Authority’s website. Applications close at 12pm on 14 September 2020.
The Government has announced an additional $30 million boost to the Building Bonus program to meet the higher than expected demand for the successful COVID-19 stimulus measure. Western Australia’s hard border and strong response to the COVID-19 pandemic means the State’s economy is recovering better than expected, and demand for some of the relief programs announced by the McGowan Government is lower than was anticipated at the height of the pandemic. As a result, funding from some relief measures has been repurposed into a special COVID-19 Industry Support Fund to provide additional support and stimulus in areas it is most needed.
Western Australian travel agents will be able to access support from a new $3 million State Government fund to help sustain their businesses as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Funded by the State Government’s COVID-19 Industry Support Fund, the program is the first and only dedicated support program in the country for travel agents. The initial rollout of the program will provide packages of up to $5,000 to eligible home-based agents and minimum $10,000 packages to eligible brick-and-mortar businesses. WA travel agents have reported that they draw up to 90 per cent of their income from Western Australians travelling overseas, and have been profoundly impacted by the Federal Government’s international border closure. The program will support travel agents to continue paying their fixed operating expenses to provide support while the Federal Government formulates a longer-term solution. To be eligible, travel agents must be legitimate small businesses with a current registered Australian Business Number (as at March 20, 2020), and have experienced a 75 per cent or greater reduction in turnover due to the impact of COVID-19. Applications for the support package open on Friday October 2 and close at 5pm on Friday October 30, with the Small Business Development Corporation to contact WA travel agents direct with information on how to apply. Travel agents who have not been contacted by Wednesday, September 23 are asked to email. The program is in addition to the State Government’s existing COVID-19 support measures for small businesses, such as commercial tenancy laws to protect small businesses from the impacts of the pandemic.
Industry specific and financial support
- An industry specific support team has been established to help support members of the tourism industry
- $159m COVID-19 Relief Fund to respond to the hardship being experienced by the Western Australian community
- an initial $59m will be available for crisis and emergency relief support for eligible not for-profit and community organisations
- The Department of Finance is to reduce standard payment terms to suppliers by 10 days for invoices under $1m
- The Government is supporting over 70 regional events around the State with $1m funding in order to assist Western Australia’s regional tourism industry on the road to recovery.
Northern beef industry
The Government will invest $8.3m over four years to drive a more profitable, resilient and diverse northern beef industry. The funding will support productivity improvements across pastoral land and the northern cattle herd, and increase Aboriginal capacity and job opportunities. Funding has been locked in ahead of this year’s Budget to allow critical work delivered through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Northern Beef Development program to continue. New projects include a grants scheme to increase the adoption of technology and innovation, and assistance for Aboriginal pastoral enterprises in assessing and transitioning to improved business models that attract investment and create job opportunities.
New Industries Fund (NIF)
The Government is advancing up to $800,000 from the $16.7m New Industries Fund (NIF) to support start ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) impacted by COVID-19. The $16.7m NIF was established to support and accelerate new and emerging businesses to diversify the Western Australian economy and create new WA jobs. The $800,000 package from the NIF consists of the following support programs:
- Innovation Vouchers Program: An additional $300,000 to support 16 more Innovation Vouchers, worth up to $20,000 each, to start-ups and SMEs. This is in additional to the existing $400,000 allocated for the 2020 program, bringing the total value to $700,000. The total 36 Innovation Voucher grants will support SMEs to access professional skills, services or knowledge to advance their ideas and commercial activities
- WA Data Science Innovation Hub and the AustCyber WA Innovation Hub: $400,000 funding to help build the hubs’ capacity to advise start-ups and SMEs on cyber security and the use of data science for business development, including in regional areas
- X-TEND WA Program: $100,000 funding for education and mentoring programs, which will be delivered by existing X-TEND WA program recipients. This will help boost entrepreneurs and innovative projects that support diversity and promote inclusion in the innovation community. This will also support WA business that wish to pivot their business model.
$24.5m support package to assist the building and construction industry in maintaining a skilled workforce and support apprentices and trainees. It includes:
- $10m immediate support with a $2,000 payment to employers to maintain existing apprentices and trainees
- $9.5m in new monthly payment program to employers of apprentices and trainees
- $5m to support more than 5,000 building and construction apprentices and trainees to complete short training courses.
Taxi and on-demand transport industry
The relief package for taxi and on demand transport industry support will include:
- a total of $9m of funding
- $4.7m to regional taxis
- $2500 cash payments to authorised on demand booking services that hold active passenger transport vehicle authorisation
- waiver of PTV authorisation renewal fees for the next 12 months
- camera requirements for metro and regional taxis delayed until 1 July 2021.
Local Governments and universities
A new lending facility to support Local Governments and universities impacted by reduced revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been established. The new lending facility will:
- Enable Local Governments and universities to access short-term loans to support the liquidity of their operations
- Be available from the Western Australian Treasury Corporation (WATC), with applications opening on 1 June 2020.
- Only be available for Local Governments and universities that can demonstrate the impact COVID-19 has had, and is expected to have, on forecast cash flows for 2020-21.
Specific rate royalties applied to minerals used by Western Australia’s building and construction sector will remain at their current levels and not increase for the next five-years commencing 1 July 2020.
The unchanged rate royalties are:
- Amount A (73 cents) includes aggregate, clays, dolomite, gravel, gypsum, construction use limestone, rock, (common) salt and sand
- Amount B (117 cents) includes building stone, chemical use limestone, metallurgical use silica and talc.
This announcement follows the Government’s decision to streamline administrative procedures for the mining sector and reduce the Mines Safety Levy.
The Government has amended the Mining Regulations 1981 to support stakeholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the revised regulations, tenement holders can now apply for expenditure exemptions if they are able to demonstrate that COVID-19 has affected their ability to meet their expenditure conditions. The temporary amendments reduce the amount of time allowed for an objection to be lodged, from 35 days to 14 days, and all exemption applications will now be published online. Guidelines have been developed to assist stakeholders through the new interim process and to ensure applications remain of a high-quality. Additionally, on Wednesday July 1, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety cut its assessment timeframes in half for exploration Programme of Work applications. The new timeframe target for applications has been reduced from 30 to 15 business days.
Specialist Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation
Muresk Institute is set to become home to a new $7.5 million Specialist Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation to train farm machinery technicians in new and emerging technologies as part of the Government’s $167.4 million infrastructure investment in TAFE. Western Australia is Australia’s largest grain-growing region and, as the rate of technology adoption escalates, the demand for agricultural machinery apprentices is expected to grow significantly. The farm mechanisation sector is critical to good crop yields and profitability with about eight per cent of farming budgets spent on machinery repairs and maintenance. A centralised specialist training centre was identified by industry as key to its success. Muresk has a rich history of providing world-class agricultural education and training and is uniquely placed to meet industry needs. The new centre, coupled with industry partnerships and affordable and free training options for the agricultural sector, will help ensure a pipeline of skilled workers. The project will include construction of two large machinery training workshops, covered hardstand area, classrooms and new training equipment. In addition, $500,000 has been allocated towards a specialist shearing shed to provide practical training to students in wool handling and shearing. A free short course in harvesting, as part of the $25 million Recovery Skillsets package, will also be available to provide training to meet the immediate and emerging skills needs of the multi-billion-dollar sector. This capital works project is part of the Government’s $229.2 million Rebuilding our TAFEs plan, which will deliver state-of-the-art learning opportunities for students and boost the Western Australian economy by generating jobs. The State Government has recently increased the number of half price courses available, as part of the Lower fees, local skills initiative. Initially launched in January, the initiative halved the cost of training for 34 high priority qualifications. In July, the program was expanded to include an additional 39 courses slashed by up to 72 per cent to align with the State’s immediate economic needs following COVID-19. The courses with reduced fees are also targeted at job opportunities that relate to capital works initiatives such as the Rebuilding our TAFEs plan.
$6 million recreational fishing industry package
The Government has unveiled a $6 million package to support Western Australia’s booming recreational fishing industry as part of the WA Recovery Plan.nThe package, developed with Recfishwest, includes new artificial reefs, a boost to finfish stocks to increase fishing opportunities in the metropolitan area, and a new State-wide marketing campaign to drive more locals and tourists to WA’s iconic fishing locations. As part of the package, a special shallow water reef will be installed off Albany and additional state-of-the-art structures will be deployed to create safe fishing meccas off two other regional towns. The plan will deliver a significant boost to fish stocks in Perth metropolitan waters. The stocking of finfish species, such as yellowtail kingfish, will support new fishing opportunities on new North Metro Reef to create a drawcard for tourism and support the 50 fishing tour vessels operating off the Perth coast. The Cockburn Sound ‘Snapper Guardians’ program will also be extended, and an additional one million barramundi will be released annually into Lake Kununurra. In continuing to support and enhance the still water barramundi fishery in the East Kimberley, there is an opportunity for indigenous economic development through direct employment in fishing tours. The Government is also working with Recfishwest, WA’s peak recreational fishing body, to develop a State-wide marketing campaign for iconic WA fishing experiences, destinations and businesses to help create new jobs and strengthen the recovery. New promotions to feature in the marketing campaign will include the development of a WA Fishing Trails and Calendar to not only promote salmon in the south but also showcase barramundi in the north.
Small tourism operators
The Government has launched a multi-million dollar recovery package to support small tourism operators around the State to adapt and refocus their businesses in the COVID-19 landscape. With some regional travel and other restrictions being cautiously eased from Monday 18 May 2020, as part of the WA Roadmap, the State Government’s Tourism Recovery Program will enable tourism operators to prepare for a staged return to business in a new environment. The $14.4m initiative includes two funding programs:
- $10.4m in one-off cash grants for up to 1,600 individual small businesses around the State
- the $6,500 grants will provide immediate support to eligible tourism operators with annual taxable wages of less than $1m, including accommodation, attraction, tour and transport businesses
- $4m Tourism Business Survival Grants package will be available for tourism operators dealing with exceptionally difficult circumstances
- the Survival Grants of $25,000-$100,000 will target businesses located in parts of the State with more restrictive travel bans in place, or whose circumstances otherwise mean they will face a more difficult road to recovery. Businesses which deliver iconic experiences are also eligible to apply.
A probity auditor would review the robust and transparent criteria-led application and panel assessment. As part of the application process, businesses are required to:
- Submit a recovery and marketing plan to outline how the funding will be used and indicate how their product, service or experience could be adapted
- Have a valid Australian Business Number and be an active part of the WA tourism industry through membership of one of the State’s eligible tourism organisations, or tourism accreditation programs.
More information on the Tourism Recovery Fund and the online application form can be found on Tourism WA’s corporate website.
$150 million tourism package investment
The Government has made an $150 million tourism package investment to support Western Australia’s tourism sector as it responds to the impacts of COVID-19, as part of the WA Recovery Plan. Many of the State’s natural icons are set to undergo major improvements, which will create a pipeline of jobs, help get people back into work, and people out visiting the WA attractions and supporting local businesses. Key tourism attractions across the State will be enhanced – with construction to begin on new visitor facilities, camp sites, trails, jetties, boardwalks, and other amenities and infrastructure. The comprehensive program also includes affordable airfare packages, enhancements for Aboriginal cultural tourism, road improvements for better access to destinations, and support to bring unique and innovative attractions to WA. The tourism recovery package will create jobs in a wide range of industries, with capital works programs to begin right around the State with regional WA, in particular, to see significant benefits from the program. The improvements will ensure the local industry is better placed than ever to capitalise on the future return of out-of-State tourists – while continuing to build on the strong intrastate market of locals now travelling in WA instead of overseas or interstate. For more information on tourism package projects, visit the WA Government website.
The Government has allocated $7 million to help solve access issues at the Carnarvon Fascine as part of the $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan. The funding will see immediate measures implemented to assist with access to the fascine, a long standing issue for Carnarvon residents and visitors. The $7 million will also go towards delivering a permanent solution for access from options developed by the Fascine Entryway Project Steering Committee. Immediate measures to be implemented in the short term to improve access and provide relief to boat users include:
- regular movement of the channel markers to ensure boats can safely use the deepest water;
- bringing forward increased mooring infrastructure at the Carnarvon Boat Harbour;
- boat owners currently paying fees in the fascine waterway will stay ‘fee free’ at the boat harbour until they can return to the fascine; and
- provide overland relocation for vessels not able to exit the waterway on their own.
Specialised equipment will be installed next month to collect further data that can be used with recent hydrographic survey results – while necessary environmental approvals are sought – to finalise a plan for the fascine to provide year-round access to the waterway for all craft. A study identifying options for optimal permanent solutions to Fascine access issues has been recently completed by the Shire of Carnarvon and the Fascine Entryway Project Steering Committee has been established to help advance and guide the project. Members of the Fascine Entryway Project Steering Committee include representatives from the Shire of Carnarvon, the Department of Transport, the Gascoyne Development Commission and the Carnarvon Yacht Club The Carnarvon Fascine project was identified as a worthy recipient as part of $300 million in community and sports infrastructure funding allocated across Western Australia to generate work for local small businesses and contractors. Visit the WA Recovery Plan website for information about other projects.
$30 million upgrade to Perth Concert Hall
Western Australia’s iconic Perth Concert Hall is set to receive a $30 million upgrade and investment over the next three years as part of the State Government’s WA Recovery Plan. The works, which are expected to create 230 jobs, will see the restoration and redevelopment of the building and forecourts to create an accessible, functional and active cultural hub connecting the city to the Swan River. The Perth Concert Hall redevelopment forms part of many culture and the arts initiatives developed by the State Government to help drive WA’s economic and social recovery from COVID-19. Other culture and the arts projects to be funded include:
- $15 million for further upgrades and restoration work at His Majesty’s Theatre. This includes reinstating original balconies and verandahs to provide new event spaces. The works are expected to create 110 jobs;
- $15 million allocated to the ‘Getting the Show back on the Road’ shared risk package to reactivate live performances and touring activities, creating increased opportunities for employment and venue activation. The package includes:
- a $5.65 million venue hire waiver for local performing arts companies for free access to State Government venues including those managed by the Perth Theatre Trust, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority and VenuesWest.
- a $350,000 contribution to events delivered by the Western Australian Music Industry Association; and
- up to $9 million available to underwrite COVID-19 related financial risks for live music and performance;
- $5 million Lotterywest investment for the Creative Communities Recovery – Artists in Residency Program which will provide valuable employment opportunities for individual artists to work with local communities in activating spaces and delivering broad community benefits. The program will engage children and families where COVID-19 has had a negative social, health or economic impact, and who have limited access to arts and cultural programs;
- $2 million to commence the planning of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre;
- $2 million investment for the design and delivery of online portals for Aboriginal art sales and presentation of performing arts activity. The initiative will foster collaboration and promote Western Australian works on the local, national and international stage; and
- $6 million for the Jewish Community Centre, matching the Federal Government’s investment of $6 million. The works, which are expected to create 90 jobs, will upgrade the existing facility in Yokine to incorporate space for community organisations to collaborate.
Goods and services contracts
The Government is implementing procurement changes for goods and services contracts to give Western Australian businesses a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes, to take effect from 2 June 2020, will make it easier for Government agencies to award and extend goods and services contracts with local businesses.
The procurement changes for goods and services include:
- Allowing agencies to purchase direct from a local business up to $250,000 (a $200,000 increase on the current limit)
- Lifting the threshold for public tender processes up to $500,000 when at least one local business is involved (an increase of $250,000)
- Enabling agencies to obtain written quotations, in place of a tender, between $250,000 and $500,000, where one or more local businesses can supply
- Allowing agencies to extend Government contracts with local businesses for up to two years to give businesses certainty.
These are temporary changes to boost the local economy and businesses during the pandemic. These changes will be in place until the end of 2020. The Department of Finance will continue to support agencies and departments to procure with local businesses, and continue to provide oversight of agencies goods and services contracts over $250,000.
Housing Stimulus Package
The Government has announced a $444m housing stimulus package to deliver a major boost to Western Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery, and support the building and construction sectors. The comprehensive housing package will provide incentives for Western Australians to build new homes and deliver more social and affordable housing options for Western Australians. The housing stimulus package will deliver:
- $117m for $20,000 Building Bonus grants provided to homebuyers who sign up before 31 December, 2020 to build new houses or purchase a new property in a single tier development (such as a townhouse) prior to construction finishing
- $8.2m to expand the 75 per cent off-the-plan transfer duty rebate, capped at $25,000, until 31 December 2020 to include purchases in multi-tiered developments already under construction
- $97m to construct social housing dwellings and purchase off-the-plan units for supported housing programs
- $142m to refurbish 1,500 existing social housing dwellings
- $80m for targeted maintenance programs for 3,800 regional social housing properties – including remote Aboriginal communities’ stock and subsidised housing for regional Government workers.
Regional Exhibition Touring Boost (RETB)
A $195,000 relief fund will be available for eligible regional art galleries that had to cancel exhibitions and close their doors due to COVID-19. The funding will ensure the galleries have the capacity required to host visual art exhibitions and activities in the future as part of the Regional Exhibition Touring Boost (RETB). It will assist recovery in re-establishing vital community arts activity. The first RETB exhibition was on tour, and the second one was about to commence, when regional border closures and physical distancing restrictions saw public galleries close across the State. The RETB is an $8m election commitment creating more opportunities for regional Western Australians to engage with visual arts, by increasing the number of touring exhibitions to regional towns and communities. The RETB is delivered by ART ON THE MOVE (AOTM) and the Art Gallery of WA, and is managed by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. AOTM will administer the fund.
Local Capability Fund
The Government unveiled a $10 million package to boost Western Australian businesses impacted by COVID-19 and increase the supply of locally made PPE. Three new rounds were released from the Local Capability Fund to help COVID-affected businesses and improve the WA business community’s capacity and competitiveness to manufacture PPE. Under the $6.5 million COVID-19 Business Recovery and Growth round, co-funding of up to $100,000 a business is available to support any Western Australian SME impacted by the pandemic to build their capacity and competitiveness. Funding can be used for things such as upgrading plant and equipment, upskilling staff, improving business infrastructure, and engaging specialists to help with a range of needs including developing online sales solutions and cyber security. Under the $3 million PPE Manufacturing round, a co-funding grant of up to $500,000 per business is available to help SMEs who want to manufacture PPE such as masks, face visors, coveralls and ventilators. The PPE Market Feasibility round will allocate up to $20,000 a business to undertake an independent feasibility study into the viability of a business’ PPE-manufacturing proposal. Since 2011, the 21 Local Capability Fund rounds has resulted in $6.79 million being committed to 395 SMEs, creating more than 800 jobs, 135 apprenticeships and $457.7 million in contract awards. For more information, visit the WA Industry Link portal or the Grants and Funding Opportunities page of the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation website.
The Green Jobs Plan
The Government is set to invest more than $60 million on environmental projects, creating more than 1,000 conservation jobs State-wide as part of the WA Recovery Plan. The Green Jobs Plan will include $60.3 million over the next three years to support projects that will protect our environment and create jobs, of which $15 million has been allocated to set up a Native Vegetation Rehabilitation Scheme. In combination with the State’s Offsets Fund for Recovery (OFFR) program, the scheme will target revegetation, habitat restoration and protection of existing vegetation to deliver at-scale environmental outcomes and employment over several years. The $8 million OFFR program supports conservation groups to carry out on-ground work and will improve habitat for Western Australia’s unique and important flora and fauna, as part of the State’s requirement for delivering environmental offsets. The program will also provide employment opportunities including fencing, seeding, planting, managing threats, and improving native vegetation and habitat for fauna such as the Carnaby’s cockatoo. A $2 million investment in fencing to extend the conservation sanctuary at Whiteman Park will create employment opportunities for new contractors. A further $5 million will be used by Main Roads to improve and increase roadside vegetation in the agricultural region to offset the impacts of roadworks aimed at making roads safer. A $3.3 million funding round for conservation work for Pilbara Aboriginal and conservation groups will be made available through the Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund. The fund combines offset contributions from mining companies to enable strategic conservation programs that improve vegetation and biodiversity outcomes in the Pilbara. The State’s rivers and estuaries will also benefit from the Green Jobs Plan. The Swan Canning system will receive an additional $2 million for foreshore protection, while the Healthy Estuaries WA program, announced just last month, will see $25 million invested to improve the health of at-risk regional estuaries in the south-west, creating a number of jobs in those communities. For more information, visit the WA Recovery Plan website.
Clean Energy Future Fund
The Government will invest a further $10 million towards the Clean Energy Future Fund, adding to the $9 million initially invested, as part of the WA Recovery Plan. Clean energy innovators can apply for funding between $250,000 and $2 million for each clean energy project. The second round of funding will be open to a broader range of projects, including mining operations and community groups. Government is in the process of developing guidelines, which will be released later this year. The Clean Energy Future Fund was established to support the development of innovative clean energy projects in Western Australia. Applications for the first round of funding are now being assessed on their capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their potential for wider adoption, scalability, and ability to create jobs in WA. The successful applicants for the first round of funding are expected to be announced later this year. Applications for the second round of funding will open in 2021. The fund is administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation with support from Energy Policy WA. For more information, visit the Clean Energy Future Fund website.
Get in touch
Stephen O’Flynn Daniel Minihan