TASMANIAN GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE

The Tasmanian government has prepared a $985 million stimulus package to support Tasmania as it tackles the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

1) Government fees and charges: 

For businesses and jobs the Government will freeze, waive or cap fees and charges for small businesses, including: 

  •  Water and electricity bills will be waived for the first quarterly bill received after 1 April this year for small business customers on Tariff 22, 94, 82 or 75, including those small businesses 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. 

  • The Government will also waive the roads component of motor tax and vehicle registration where that business has been significantly impacted by measures taken to manage COVID-19.

  • The Government will also waive land tax for 2020- 21 for commercial property owners financially impacted by COVID-19, where the land tax is paid by the business owner.

2) Payroll Tax Relief: 

The Government will extend the previously announced payroll tax waivers for the entire 2019-20 year. This includes the hospitality, tourism and seafood sectors, and Tasmanian businesses with payrolls less than $5 million which have been impacted by coronavirus. This measure will be delivered through a combination of payroll tax refunds and waivers.

The government will also waive payroll tax on JobKeeper payments made by employers of Tasmanians.

3) Rent Relief

The Tasmanian Government will give effect to the Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies agreed upon by National Cabinet last month.

This will give effect to the Code for the duration of the financial hardship period: 1 April 2020 until the financial hardship cessation day which is 12 months after commencement of the Act, or sooner at the discretion of the Treasurer.

More information on the Code, once it is made law, and what it means for commercial tenants and landlords will be published at:

https://www.cbos.tas.gov.au/newsroom/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/commercial-tenants-affected-by-covid-19-emergency

4) Additional funding to help our workforce: 

The Government will boost funding for the Rapid Response Skills Initiative with an additional $6.3 million. Through this program, up to $3,000 will be available for individuals to gain skills or licences to help them into a new role.  Businesses that have immediate job needs and opportunities available, will be able to access a job-ready pool, including to match people to our immediate priority skills needs, such as in health and food retail industries.

5) Improving Small Business Cash Flows: 

To assist with small business cash flow, the Tasmanian government will: Pay bills sooner: unless otherwise stipulated in contractual terms, payment times by government agencies will be reduced from 30 to 14 days; and

6) Targeted Small Business Grants Program for Apprenticeships and Traineeships: 

The targeted Small Business Grants Program provides a $5,000 grant for businesses that hire apprentices or trainees in the tourism, hospitality, building and construction, and manufacturing industries.

7) Youth Employment Scheme: 

The Scheme provides a payroll tax rebate for one year, to businesses that employ a young person aged 24 and under, between April and December 2020.

8) Digital Ready for Business Program

Funding for the Digital Ready for Business program has been boosted to $400,000, to help more businesses rapidly transition to online and digital models of commerce, promotion and customer engagement.

The government has also expanded its team of highly experienced digital coaches to help small businesses right across the state learn how e-commerce, social media, website performance and online marketing can help them keep trading at this extremely difficult time.

9) Human Resources and Industrial Relations Assistance: 

$80,000 will be provided to the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) to provide Human Resources and Industrial Relations assistance associated with the Coronavirus to businesses.

10) Additional support for small business: 

  • Increase the Small Business Interest-Free Loan Scheme from $20 million to $50 million, which is available for businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million;

  • Provide a  $60 million to the Small Business Grants Program with $30 million set aside for emergency grant support and $30 million for larger grants payments. Please note grant applications are now closed;

  • Provide business continuity advice with $750,000 in funding made available for businesses to seek cashflow and continuity advice. This includes a $50,000 grant to the Small Business Council of Tasmania;

  • A further $200,000 will be provided to the THA to provide business continuity and cashflow advice, increasing the funding for this initiative up to $250,000;

  • A further $200,000 will be provided to Rural Business Tasmania for the extension of its Rural Financial Counselling service