Victorian businesses to receive $491m in tax relief

Victorian businesses to receive $491m in tax relief

The Victorian Government is adding to its $1.7 billion stimulus package with a further $491 million tax relief program, including exemptions from payroll tax and the WorkCover levy on JobKeeper payments to employees who aren't working.

State Treasurer Tim Pallas announced this morning that his government would pick up the bill for foregone premiums under WorkCover, to the tune of around $200, while businesses would be saved around $225 million in payroll tax.

The remaining $66 million of today's announced funding will come through freezing a host of fees and fines for businesses and households.

"That'll include things like driver's licenses and vehicle registration fees," Pallas said.

"We're also going to freeze the Fire Services Property Levy at the revenue levels of 1920."

The Treasurer noted the freeze would take effect from July, so a progressive improvement should start to be seen.

"I've said to you previously, I think that this recovery will more look like a tick than a 'V'. It's been quite dramatic - we've seen our hospitality sector seeing revenue fall to the tune of about 60 per cent, we've seen retail expenditure drop by about 17 per cent, and we expect that the recovery will be a longer-run thing than the movement to the bottom of the economic cycle," he said.

"So there will be value for the community as economic recovery picks up, and that's why we've taken the view that a freeze would probably be the fairest way of managing this."

He added around 80,000 Victorian businesses have so far applied for the JobKeeper program.

There have been 17 new cases of COVID-19 in Victoria since yesterday, 11 of which are linked to the Cedar Meats processing facility cluster. This takes the state total to 1,423, while the number of people in hospital has gone down by one to 11.

Yesterday the state's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Cedar Meats had agreed to close its facility for 14 days as a precaution while all staff have been tested or are in the process of being tested.

At the time of that announcement there had been 19 new cases from the cluster over the previous 24 hours, taking the total to 34.

Victoria has also now done almost 152,000 tests.

"There have been 804 overseas acquired cases, 421 locally transmitted cases with known contacts, and 143 locally acquired cases with unknown contact; 42 of these are under investigation," Pallas said.

Victoria's death toll from the virus remains at 18.

Updated at 10:12am AEST on 5 May 2020.

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