NSW government unveils second stimulus, including $1 billion job fund to support business

NSW stimulus package

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Source: AAP/Joel Carrett.

The NSW government has today unveiled $750 million in additional support for the state’s tanking economy, aimed at providing payroll and rent support for small businesses.

As firms across Australia’s most populous state shut up shop and stand down workers, the NSW government says a new $1 billion “Working for NSW” fund will help sustain businesses, create new jobs and retrain employees.

While few details have been released about the scope and nature of the program, which includes $250 million in funding announced last week, state Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Deputy Premier John Barilaro said it was already being deployed.

A thousand new staff have been brought into Service NSW under the fund, they said, although these are public sector functions.

The state government has also deferred rents for six months for commercial tenants with fewer than 20 employees in all government-owned properties, but has stopped short of following Tasmania’s lead and outlawing evictions.

Payroll tax deferrals have also been extended to large businesses with more than $10 million in turnover for six months, following measures to exempt SMEs in the state’s first package.

In positive news for independent hotels, pubs and clubs, the NSW government has also deferred tax on these businesses for six months, although this is conditional on the Working for NSW fund being used to train staff.

No details were provided on how this would work in a release circulated Friday morning.

‘‘These are unprecedented times and if we are to emerge in the best shape possible we need to ensure businesses keep their heads above water and keep employees on the books,” Barilaro said in a statement.

“We will do whatever it takes to help businesses stay afloat so that they can hold onto as many jobs as possible as we get through this crisis. We will also be there to support those most vulnerable to ensure no one is left behind.”

Perrottet said the NSW package has been designed to complement measures unveiled by the federal government and Reserve Bank in recent weeks.

“Our expectation is that any relief provided by the NSW government will be used to contribute to help businesses stay in business and people stay in jobs,” he said in a statement.

A total $30 million has also been provisioned to bolster the Energy Accounts Payments Assistance scheme, which provides financial support to those in the state struggling to pay their utility bills.

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