'Survival Package': Victoria Waives Payroll Tax In $1.7 Billion Business Assistance
The Victorian government has announced a $1.7 billion package to help businesses survive coronavirus, including waiving payroll tax.
Thousands of Victorian businesses will have payroll tax payments refunded and waived this financial year to help them survive coronavirus under a $1.7 billion support package.
Businesses with payrolls up to $3 million can expect the refunds within days, Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Saturday.
"This has never happened before, it is unprecedented, it is unique, it is exactly what Victorian businesses have asked for," he said.
Payroll tax for the first quarter of the next financial year will also be deferred as part of a support package for businesses. About 24,000 businesses are included in the package.
The package also includes $500 million put into a fund to support industries hardest hit by the virus and self-isolation.
It will include hardship payments and small grants with allocation determined in partnership with the state government, Australian Hotels Association, Australian Industry Group and other sector groups, Andrews said.
He said another $600 million will be spent on a range of measures including waiving liquor licence payments -- worth $30 million -- due at the end of this month.
"That is $30 million well spent to send confidence and cash in effect back to those businesses," Andrews said.
It will also be spent re-employing people who have lost their jobs into virus-related work that will increase, including delivering packages, cleaning trains and trams.
"It just makes common sense to re-employ people who fin themselves out of work in order to give them the prospects that they need, the support they need and for us to get the tasks that are so important done," he said.
Meanwhile Victorian public school holidays will be extended by two days to allow teachers to make plans for online learning.
The days off will bookend holidays, with the final day of term one now Thursday, March 26. Students will come back for term two from Wednesday April 15.
"Teachers and schools are working hard to prepare for the possibility that we will need to move at some stage to more flexible learning arrangements, including remote learning," the education department said on Saturday.
The plans come as the number of coronavirus infections across the state continues to grow.
A police officer in suburban Melbourne has tested positive for coronavirus, causing the closure of the station they work at. Ringwood police station was shut for cleaning on Friday after the officer was confirmed to have contracted the virus from an infected person while on annual leave.
The member returned to work on Tuesday when they were notified they had been in contact with a person who had the virus and immediately went into self isolation.
The station was shut for cleaning on Tuesday and staff the officer had worked closely with have also since been self isolating.
A second Melbourne University staff member was also confirmed to have the virus on Friday, after returning from overseas before the government's mandatory quarantine period for travellers.
The total number of confirmed Victorians with coronavirus is now 229, with Victorian hospitals bracing for a fast rise in cases.
Australia's borders closed on Friday night, meaning non-Australian residents, citizens or immediate family members travelling from overseas were no longer permitted entry.
The last three international flights due to arrive at Melbourne's Tullamarine airport were from Bangkok and two from New Zealand.