Australia’s Victoria State Boosts Relief Package to Businesses

The Australian state of Victoria will offer businesses another A$3 billion ($2.2 billion) in support, equal to the total of the previous two rounds of aid as the government maintains one of the world’s most stringent coronavirus-containment regimes.

The latest package will comprise cash grants, tax relief and fee waivers that in total is equivalent to about a quarter of the state’s annual tax revenue, Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference Sunday.

The new round of support measures is part of the local government’s Business Support Fund started in August with grants to help local companies through a lockdown that includes a nighttime curfew in Melbourne, which hasthe highest infection rate in the country. The expanded window for the current support plan was due to close on Monday, according the state’s website.

“We know that businesses are hurting,” Treasurer Tim Pallas said Sunday. “They let us know might I say clearly and unambiguously.”

The new program will offer about A$1.08 billion of direct cash grants plus a deferral of payroll tax for the 2020-2021 year to businesses with payrolls of less than A$10 million. Other relief measures include A$27 million in waived liquor licensing fees and a stamp-duty discount for commercial properties.

“All of that demonstrates that we’re using every lever available to the government to help business make the necessary changes to run their businesses going forward,” Pallas said.

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