The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians is our number one priority as we face the challenge of coronavirus. Our social and economic support package will help Tasmanian businesses and jobs as we deal with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting Businesses and Jobs
Government fees and charges
For businesses and jobs the Government will freeze, waive or cap fees and charges for small businesses, including:
- Water and electricity bills will be waived for the first quarterly bill received after 1 April this year for small business customers on Tariff 22, 94, 82 or 75, including those small businesses on market contracts that could access those tariffs.
- Electricity prices will be capped, and water prices will be frozen next financial year.
- The Government will freeze all fees and charges subject to the Government Fee Units Act 1997.
The Government will also waive the roads component of motor tax and vehicle registration where that business has been significantly impacted by measures taken to manage COVID-19.
The Government will also waive land tax for 2020- 21 for commercial property owners financially impacted by COVID-19, where the land tax is paid by the business owner.
Payroll tax relief
The Government will extend the previously announced Payroll tax waivers for the hospitality, tourism and seafood sectors and for Tasmanian businesses with payrolls less than $5 million which have been impacted by coronavirus to ensure that these businesses will pay no payroll taxes for the entire 2019-20 year. This measure will be delivered through a combination of payroll tax refunds and waivers.
Additional funding to help our workforce
The Government will boost funding for the Rapid Response Skills Initiative with an additional $6.3 million. Through this program, up to $3,000 will be available for individuals to gain skills or licences to help them into a new role.
Businesses that have immediate job needs and opportunities available, will be able to access a job-ready pool, including to match people to our immediate priority skills needs, such as in health and food retail industries.
Local Government Loan Scheme
The Government has extended the Local Government Loan Scheme from $50 million to $150 million to encourage local councils to upgrade local infrastructure and employ Tasmanians in the process.
Additional support for small businesses
For small businesses, the Government will also:
- Increase the Small Business Interest Free Loan Scheme from $20 million to $50 million, which is available for businesses with turnovers of less than $10 million;
- Provide a new $40 million to the Small Business Grants Program with $20 million set aside for emergency grant support and $20 million for larger grants payments;
- Provide a Digital Ready for Business Program will be boosted with $150,000 to assist businesses who want to take their business online;
- Provide business continuity advice with $750,000 in funding made available for businesses to seek cashflow and continuity advice. This includes a $50,000 grant to the Small Business Council of Tasmania;
- A further $200,000 will be provided to the THA to provide business continuity and cashflow advice, increasing the funding for this initiative up to $250,000;
- A further $200,000 will be provided to Rural Business Tasmania for the extension of its Rural Financial Counselling service; and
- Provide $100,000 to support our local Chamber of Commerce’s as they themselves assist businesses manage COVID-19.
Primary healthcare grants
Grant funding of up to $10 000 is available to eligible general practices and community pharmacists to support continued delivery of primary health services. Find out more about the Primary Healthcare Grants Program.
Tourism and hospitality support
A further $200,000 will be provided to the THA to provide business continuity and cashflow advice, increasing the funding for this initiative up to $250,000.
Seafood and fishery support
The Government will provide an additional $1.8 million for fisheries fees and licence relief for 12 months. This will include:
- $604,000 for fee relief for a range of wild fisheries licence fees, including commercial dive, scallops and fishing vessels;
- $427,000 for licence and rental fees relief for shellfish farming; and
- $770,000 for ShellMAP Program Fee Relief.
This initiative is in addition to the 12 month waiver for annual fees for Rock Lobster, Giant Crab, wild capture Fin Fisheries and Abalone Divers which has a full cost of $3.7 million and brings total Government support to the fishing industry to $5.5 million.
See more on fisheries assistance.
Creative and cultural industries
The Government will provide $1.5 million to support the Creative and Cultural Industries. The programs to be funded include:
- $500,000 for an Arts and Screen Digital Production Fund. This Fund will enable Arts and Screen Tasmania to commission excerpts of digital versions of cancelled or postponed performing arts events and supporting recording projects of music ensembles;
- $250,000 one-off funding for script and other development activities which are able to continue under the current restrictions;
- $250,000 to support contemporary musicians to record music and video for digital distribution and business relaunch; and
- $500,000 to support additional Arts organisations not currently funded.
The Government will also extend arts organisation contracts due to expire by one year, supporting 19 organisations to manage through this period of disruption, manage cashflow and continue to employ their staff wherever feasible.
See more on assistance to the creative and cultural industries.
Critical air freight for industry and our islands
The Government will provide $2.6 million towards air freight services for time sensitive freight, including seafood, as well as providing access to our Bass Strait Islands.
Taxi license fees
The Government will waive annual taxi licence fees for the calendar year 2020 at a cost of $240,000.
For Government leased property (to private/commercial tenants) we will waive rents for six months.
In regard to Elizabeth Street Pier period of waiver will be up until settlement (May 1) - which is the date the Government retains ownership until - by that stage a national approach to commercial tenancies will have been established.