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Australia: States announce tax relief, economic stimulus responses to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Australia: States announce tax relief, coronavirus

The Australian states of Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia announced economic stimulus and tax relief measures in direct response to COVID-19.


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In this report, $ = Australian dollars.


The Queensland government on 17 March 2020 announced a $500 million concessional loan facility comprising loans of up to $250,000 with an initial 12-month interest-free period for businesses to retain staff. This is in addition to measures announced earlier this month that allow small and medium Queensland businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak to defer their payroll tax payment for six months under a new deferral measure.

Further details on how to apply for the 12-month interest-free loans are expected to be announced soon.

More information on Queensland’s latest announcement can be found on the Queensland government website.

New South Wales

The New South Wales government announced on 17 March 2020 a $2.3 billion economic stimulus package and health funding that includes payroll tax cuts and waivers of certain fees.

The measures include:

  • $700 million extra funding for NSW Health
  • $450 million for the waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20)
  • $56 million to bring forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21
  • $80 million to waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and trades
  • $250 million to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure such as transport assets, schools and other public buildings
  • $250 million to bring forward maintenance on public assets including social housing and crown land fencing
  • $500 million to bring forward capital works and maintenance

More information on New South Wales’ measures can be found on the NSW government website.

Western Australia

The Western Australia government on 16 March 2020 announced a $607 million stimulus package to support households and small businesses that includes payroll tax relief.

The measures include:

  • $402 million to freeze household fees and charges until at least July 1, 2021;
  • Small businesses that pay payroll tax will receive a one-off grant of $17,500;
  • $1 million payroll tax threshold brought forward by six months to July 1, 2020; and
  • Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can defer payroll tax payments until July 21, 2020.

More information on Western Australia’s measures can be found on the WA government website.


The Tasmanian government released details of a $420 million economic stimulus and support package, that includes payroll tax waivers, in response to COVID-19. 

The first stage of the plan aimed at supporting jobs and business in Tasmania includes:

  • A waiver of payroll tax for the last four months of this financial year for hospitality, tourism and seafood industry businesses
  • Provide other small to medium businesses with an annual payroll of up to $5 million in Australian wages based on the immediate impact of the virus on their businesses a waiver of payroll tax payments for the remaining three months from March to June 2020
  • One-off $5,000 grants for businesses hiring certain individuals under an apprenticeship program
  • A youth employment payroll tax rebate scheme for young people from 1 April 2020
  • A 50% discount on liquor licencing fees and waiver of all application fees for the calendar year 2020, back dated to 1 January 2020
  • Waiver of annual fees and levies on rock lobster, giant crab and fin fisheries, and for abalone divers for 12 months

More information on the announcement can be found on the Tasmanian government’s website.

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