NSW, WA and Vic Governments announce Covid-19 packages

The NSW Government, WA and Victorian Governments have announced stimulus packages for their respective states to ensure a health boost and economic well being in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The NSW Government has announced a $2.3 billion health boost and economic stimulus, the WA Government has allocated $607 million to support WA households and small businesses and the Victorian Government has revealed a $100 million response designed to boost capacity in the health system in preparation for the pandemic peak.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, “Our first priority is always the health of the people of this state and looking after their families and jobs.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan has accepted that what we are facing right now is uncharted territory and there’s no doubt that the economy is going to feel the effects of COVID-19.

He said, “COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation and the McGowan Government stands ready to respond in any way necessary. Further measures to support the State’s economy are under consideration and will be rolled out as required.”

The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said, “We know that when the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its peak our hospitals are going to be busier than ever, so it makes sense to get as many patients as possible in for elective surgery now, while we still can.”

The key elements of the NSW COVID-19 package include:
Health boost

  • $700 million extra funding for NSW Health. This will assist in doubling ICU capacity, preparing for additional COVID-19 testing, purchasing additional ventilators and medical equipment, establishing acute respiratory clinics and bringing forward elective surgeries to private hospitals;

Business support and jobs

  • $450 million for the waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20). This means these businesses will save a quarter of their annual payroll tax bill in 2019-20.
  • $56 million to bring forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21;
  • $80 million to waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies;
  • $250 million to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure such as transport assets, schools and other public buildings;
  • More than $250 million to bring forward maintenance on public assets including social housing and crown land fencing;
  • $500 million to bring forward capital works and maintenance.

The key elements of the WA COVID-19 package include:

  • $607 million stimulus package to support WA households and small businesses in the wake of COVID-19;
  • $402 million to freeze household fees and charges until at least July 1, 2021;
    (Freeze will apply to entire ‘household basket’, including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, emergency services levy and public transport fares)
  • Energy Assistance Payment (EAP) doubled to $600 to support vulnerable Western Australians, including pensioners;
  • $114 million in additional measures to support small businesses;
  • Small businesses that pay payroll tax will receive a one-off grant of $17,500;
  • $1 million payroll tax threshold brought forward by six months to July 1, 2020;
  • Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can defer payroll tax payments until July 21, 2020.
  • Further details here.

The key elements of the Vic COVID-19 package include:

  • More than $60 million to be made available to both public and private hospitals to undertake additional surgery such as thyroid, prostate, hernia or gynaecological surgeries – so they can be done before the predicted peak of the pandemic places further strain on our hospital system.
  • A further $30 million to be used to commission the new Casey Hospital inpatient tower to boost capacity across Victoria’s hospital system – adding an additional 140 beds in time for the peak of the pandemic.
  • $10 million to boost Personal Protective Equipment supplies in Victoria – including 100 million gloves, 10 million masks and 1.5 million gowns to ensure healthworkers have the necessary resources to do their jobs.
  • More information here.

In addition, the Federal Government has announced a number of initiatives, including –

  • Instant asset write offs of up to $150,000 for businesses with turnover up to $500 million;
  • Up to $25,000 tax payments will be refunded to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff;
  • Accelerated depreciation deductions for assets acquired between March 2020 and 30 June 2021.

These incentives will be available to many insurance broking firms, as well as the clients of broking firms.

More information about financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new Federal Government support for Australian businesses available here.