Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Premier; Treasurer; Minister for Public Sector Management; Federal-State Relations

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Former Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands

    COVID-19 economic response: Relief for businesses and households

    16/03/2020 1:30 PM
    • $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
    • Building on $760 million announced in the past few months to stimulate economy
    • Stimulus measures made possible due to McGowan Government's responsible financial management and strong budget surplus

    Household fees and charges will be frozen and Western Australian small and medium businesses will receive additional relief, as part of a $607 million stimulus package announced today by the McGowan Government.


    The measures will provide relief to Western Australian families and small businesses, and help support the State's economy to respond to COVID-19.


    Premier Mark McGowan and Treasurer Ben Wyatt announced today that, effective immediately, a freeze will be placed on household fees and charges, including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, the emergency services levy and public transport fares.


    An allocation of $402 million in the 2020-21 Budget will go towards paying for the freeze.


    Previously the Budget included an increase of $127 or 2 per cent in fees and charges - which was the estimated inflation rate for 2020-21.


    The last time the 'household basket' of fees and charges was frozen was under the previous Labor Government in 2004-05.


    The McGowan Government will also allocate $91 million to double the EAP in 2020-21 to provide additional support to vulnerable Western Australians.


    The payment will increase from $300 to $600 for eligible concession card-holders.


    The stimulus package also includes $114 million in measures to support Western Australian small and medium businesses.


    Payroll tax paying businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500 to assist them to manage the impacts of COVID-19.

    It's expected 7,400 Western Australian businesses will benefit from the grant.


    The McGowan Government will fast-track additional payroll tax relief for small businesses, with the payroll tax threshold increasing to $1 million from July 1, 2020, six months earlier than planned.


    The $114 million payroll tax announcement builds on the payroll tax package announced by the Government in October. As part of the package announced last year, the payroll threshold increased to $950,000 from January 1, 2020, and was due to increase again to $1 million from January 1, 2021.


    11,000 Western Australian businesses will benefit from the cut in payroll tax.


    In addition, small and medium sized businesses affected by COVID-19 can now apply to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until July 21, 2020.


    The deferral is available to employers who pay $7.5 million or less in Australian Taxable Wages and have been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19, compared to normal operating conditions.


    Further information on how to apply for a payroll tax deferral is available on the Department of Finance website at http://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-finance


    Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:


    "We are in uncharted territory and there's no doubt our economy is going to feel the effects of COVID-19.


    "As a responsible Government, we must respond and we must provide certainty to both businesses and households.


    "These measures will provide relief to WA families, seniors and small businesses to further support our economy to withstand the headwinds we face.


    "For the first time in 16 years, household fees and charges will be frozen, providing relief and certainty to each and every Western Australian.


    "It's this relief and certainty that can help give Western Australians the confidence to continue to spend and support our local economy during these times.  


    "We are able to deliver this relief because we've been able to get the Budget under control, following years of record debt and deficits.


    "Today's payroll tax measures build on the package announced last year and will ensure thousands of businesses will benefit, six months' sooner than planned.


    "The one-off grant will support small businesses to respond to the impacts of COVID-19.


    "I urge Western Australians to continue to support local businesses as we continue to manage the impacts of the virus.


    "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."


    Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt:


    "The McGowan Government has worked closely with the Commonwealth Government to manage the economic impacts of COVID-19.


    "The State Government's stimulus package works hand in glove with the Commonwealth Government, and ensures these additional measures complement the stimulus announced by the Prime Minister last week.


    "The measures are targeted, timely and effective.


    "We recognise that household fees and charges are an impost on many WA families, particularly during times of uncertainty.


    "The McGowan Government was examining ways to provide relief to households as part of the upcoming State Budget but, due to the ongoing concerns around COVID-19, it's appropriate that we announce the freeze now, to give families some certainty going forward.


    "These are responsible, targeted stimulus measures that will benefit thousands of Western Australian businesses and families.


    "These measures are only possible due to our Government's disciplined financial management, which has put us in a strong position to respond to the potential economic shock caused by COVID-19.


    "It builds on more than $760 million announced in the past few months to stimulate our economy and comes on top of the $12.85 million local tourism package announced following the China travel ban."


    Premier's office - 6552 5000

    Treasurer's office - 6552 5900


    Stimulus measures announced by the McGowan Government in recent months include:


    • $222 million housing and homelessness package;
    • $170 million in payroll tax relief for Western Australian businesses;
    • $29 million in stamp duty rebates to stimulate the property and construction sectors;
    • $200 million maintenance package for WA schools;
    • $81.5 million maintenance package for WA health facilities;
    • $53.5 million to reduce TAFE by 50 per cent for priority occupations; and
    • $12.85 million tourism boost to support local tourism industry and deliver cheaper regional airfares.