Media release – Peter Gutwein, Premier, 17 March 2020

Investing to sustain a strong economy and local jobs

The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians is our number one priority as we face the challenge of coronavirus, and we will continue to manage the risk of the virus based on the best and latest evidence and medical advice.

We know this pandemic will also have very real and significant economic consequences, and our Government will do everything it can to manage and mitigate those impacts on businesses, jobs, families and the Tasmanian community.

Today, we have announced a $420 million support package which will provide additional support to the public sector and targeted assistance to our businesses and workforce to keep Tasmanians in jobs

Our targeted support package is proportionate and scalable and includes:

  • $20 million for the provision of interest free loans to businesses in the hospitality, tourism, seafood and exports sectors. The loans will be available to small businesses with a turnover of less than $5 million for the purpose of purchasing equipment or restructuring business operations and will be interest free for a period of up to three years.
  • We will waive payroll tax for the last four months of this financial year for hospitality, tourism and seafood industry businesses. This will save businesses around $7 million enabling them to keep more Tasmanians employed.
  • Other small to medium businesses with an annual payroll of up to $5 million in Australian wages will be able to apply, based on the immediate impact of the virus on their businesses, to have their payroll tax payments waived for the three months from 31 March to June 2020.
  • To encourage businesses to employ young people we will introduce a youth employment payroll tax rebate scheme for young people from 1 April 2020.
  • $50 million in interest free loans over 3 years will be made available to encourage local governments to invest and employ more Tasmanians to upgrade, renovate and to do necessary maintenance to improve our tourism assets so that when the visitors come back we are ready.
  • Immediately bring forward of $50 million for the maintenance of public buildings over the next 12 months.
  • The Government will also provide $2.1 million for one-off $5,000 grants for businesses that hire an apprentice or trainee, complementing the Federal Government’s apprenticeship package.
  • The Government knows that cash flow for small to medium businesses is critical and will assist the cash flow of small business by requiring agencies to pay quicker.  Unless otherwise required by contractual arrangements, the normal terms of trade for payments by government agencies will be reduced from 30 days to 14 days.
  • One-off emergency relief payments of $250 for individuals and up to $1000 for families who are required to self-isolate by public health as a result of coronavirus.
  • We will provide $1 million through Communities Tasmania to organisations such as the Salvation Army, The Red Cross and Rural Business Tas. These organisations will support vulnerable people through provision of food hampers, medical supplies or counselling.
  • $2 million will be made available to our primary health care sector to ensure that GPs, pharmacists and other health care providers are supported, for example, by enabling minor capital works and the purchase of equipment including PPE so they can continue providing primary health services.
  • $1 million will be available to support front line workers with accommodation, such as in circumstances where their family members are ill, so they can continue to contribute to our response.
  • The Government will provide an additional $1 million in grants to mental health organisations to support individuals experiencing mental health difficulties as a result of the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • We will also establish an emergency accommodation support fund of $1 million for individuals and families who have been placed on home quarantine but who are unable to return to their regular place of residence due to self-isolation measures being in place.
  • The Government will also provide a 50 per cent discount on liquor licencing fees and waive all application fees for the calendar year 2020, back dated to 1 January 2020.
  • $100,000 in support to the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Hospitality Association for training and support of workers in the tourism and hospitality sectors over the winter months, to improve productivity and to be ready when tourism returns to normal busy levels across the state.
  • $80,000 assistance for Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to provide advice to businesses on the implications of these workplace issues.
  • For the fourth quarter of 2019-20, the Government will waive tourism operator lease, license and entry fees to support around 300 of our hard-working tourism businesses.
  • We have already provided for annual fees and levies to be paid by installment in, rock lobster, giant crab and fin fisheries, and for abalone divers.  These fees will now be waived for 12 months at a cost of $670,000.
  • Removal of the efficiency dividend on State Government agencies over the forward estimates.

The Tasmanian majority Liberal Government is working hard to keep Tasmanians informed, safe and supported. We will continue to put the health and safety of Tasmanians first as we work to support businesses, jobs, families and the community through these challenging times.


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Source: Tasmanian Times