The Queensland government announced its stimulus package on Tuesday aimed to protect jobs and boost small and medium-sized businesses during the coronavirus crisis as Centrelink lines around Australia continue to grow.
Queensland treasurer Jackie Trad said the package pumps an extra $2.5 billion into the state’s jobs and businesses, with the state government announcing it will refund two months’ worth of payroll tax for small and medium sized businesses, and large businesses that are directly impacted by Covid-19.
“Additionally, we’re giving small and medium businesses a three-month payroll tax holiday, and a further six-month payroll tax deferral for any of these Queensland businesses,” Trad said.
Combined with the payroll tax deferrals announced last week, Trad said that “no Queensland businesses impacted by Covid-19 would need to make a payroll tax payment” this year.
Liquor licence fees will be waived for venues that have closed doors as of Monday, and rent relief will be provided for businesses who rent premises from the state government, with Queensland also announcing it will “give sole traders, small and medium businesses a $500 rebate on power bills for this year”.
An online portal for businesses to apply for payroll tax relief can be accessed here, and a dedicated small-business hotline has been made available.
“Our society will go through the most difficult period most of us have ever experienced,” premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on the package.
“On top of earlier measures, this takes our support package for Queensland workers and businesses to more than $3 billion.”
An extra $1.2 billion was also announced towards fever clinics, emergency department capacity, acute care services, and regional aeromedical services for Queensland’s remote communities.
Queensland is preparing to shut its borders from Wednesday 25 March.
Border travel will be policed and closed to those not travelling for work, medical appointments or freight carriers between Tweed and Coolangatta.
As many as 88,000 people across Australia have lost employment in recent days following widespread business closures and coronavirus related job cuts.
The nation's unemployment rate is currently at 5.1 per cent, but this is expected to drastically climb.
Around midnight on Tuesday, parliament passed the bills for two rounds of economic stimulus measures in the aim to cushion Australia’s economy as a recession looms.