Premier Carmen Lawrence tonight announced a $19 million package of concessions to business to encourage employment growth and stimulate the economy.
Dr Lawrence said the concessions on payroll tax were designed primarily to encourage employment in small to medium-sized companies.
The Premier said the concessions included:
· offering private sector employers with payrolls of $3.2 million or less a payroll tax rebate of $1,800 for each new employee;
· increasing the payroll tax threshold by seven per cent; and -
· indexing payroll tax thresholds by average weekly earnings.
The rebates would be backdated to July 1 and apply for two financial years, while the new payroll tax threshold would come into effect on December 1.
"My Government recognises the vital role that small business has to play in the generation of new jobs and is prepared to do all it can to encourage growth in this sector," Dr Lawrence said.
"This new package of concessions is aimed at boosting employment opportunities by enabling eligible companies to take on extra staff without increasing their payroll tax bill.
"As an illustration, if a medium-sized factory currently employing 50 people with a payroll of $1.5 million decided to expand its operations and hire a further eight full-time workers, it would get payroll concessions of about $17,000."
Dr Lawrence said the package was part of the Government's on-going strategy to support the private sector and address unemployment.
"The increase in payroll tax thresholds announced tonight is in addition to a 10 per cent rise announced earlier this year," she said.
"It will provide benefits to about 3,500 employers or nearly half of all companies which pay payroll tax in this State."
Added to this was the freeze on land tax valuations and reductions in electricity tariffs for more than 80,000 small businesses announced earlier this year.
As well, the Western Australian Budget included no new taxes, no higher tax rates nor any extension of existing tax bases.
"The Government's commitment to business is to build confidence and ensure that the emerging signs of economic recovery continue," Dr Lawrence said.
"Our policies aim to create a climate for new investment, an export orientation for industry and lower costs for business."
The Premier announced the package of concessions at the annual dinner of the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry where she presented Foodland Associated Limited (FAL) with the CCI's `Company of the Year' award.