Tassie government reveals $420 million coronavirus stimulus for small business

Tasmania stimulus package

This article refers to the first Tasmanian stimulus package. More measures have since been announced, and are available here.

One-by-one, Australian state governments are releasing their own stimulus packages to support the local businesses under their watch.

On Tuesday, Tasmania revealed its comprehensive package, worth a total of about $420 million.

The state’s stimulus is largely focused on supporting the state’s tourism and hospitality sectors, as well as the fishing industry and construction businesses.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s on offer for Tassie small businesses.

Interest-free loans

First, the state government is making $20 million in interest-free loans available to small businesses in the hospitality, tourism, seafood production and export sectors.

Businesses with turnover of less than $5 million will be eligible, and the loans are intended to be used for purchasing of equipment, or for restructuring business operations.

Loans will be offered interest-free for three years. Details on how to apply have not yet been released.

Payroll tax waiver

Like we’ve seen in other state government stimulus packages, Tasmania is offering a waiver of payroll tax liabilities for some small businesses.

The waiver will be available to those in the hospitality, tourism and seafood industries, and will apply for the last four months of the 2019-20 financial year.

Other businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will also be able to apply for a waiver, but eligibility will be based on how significantly the virus has affected business. Further details on this criteria have not yet been released.

14-day payment times

The government has committed to paying small businesses contracted by state government agencies within 14 days, reduced from 30 days, unless otherwise required by contractual arrangements.

This measure is intended to improve the cashflow situation for struggling small businesses in the state.

Employment incentives

A new small business grants program will offer up to $5,000 to businesses that hire an apprentice or trainee, in the tourism, hospitality, construction or manufacturing industries.

SmartCompany understands that this grant program was already in the pipeline, but that funding has been brought forward as part of the stimulus package.

Similarly, a youth employment scheme will encourage businesses to hire young people, aged 24 and under, by offering a rebate on payroll tax for one year, if the person is hired between April and December 2020.

A new $100,000 tourism and hospitality training fund will also be used for training, in a bid to make sure the industry is ready to bounce back effectively when the crisis passes.

Procurement and employment

The Tasmanian government is allocating $50 million to fast-track maintenance on public buildings over the next 12 months.

The investment is intended to help support local trade businesses and self-employed people in this sector.

Fees waived

Again, like some other states, Tasmania is waiving fees for certain licences and leases applicable to small businesses.

These include a 50% discount on liquor licencing fees and a waiver on application fees, waiving park entry fees for tourism operators, and waiving of some fisheries fees for 12 months.

Industrial relations

Finally, the government has pledged $80,000 to the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to provide human resources and industrial relations support to businesses affected the COVID-19 outbreak.

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