Victoria announces landmark billion dollar stimulus package to combat the impacts of coronavirus
The Victorian government has announced a landmark $1 billion economic boost to assist small businesses and workers likely to be hit hardest by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The mega-package is designed to assist individuals, businesses and sectors which are likely to fall on particularly hard times as the virus continues to generate losses and unemployment for particular industries.
The Victorian premier Daniel Andrews today announced it as the biggest stimulus package in the state's history.
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"This has never happened before, this is unprecedented, it is unique and its exactly what Victorian businesses ask for."
"This is about putting back in the hands of Victorian business who are doing it very tough, the cash and confidence they need to survive through this crisis and to be there at the other end of this crisis."
The package is divided into three essential parts – the first being a $500 million payroll tax refund for 24,000 business that have a payroll of up to $3 million that employ around 400,000 workers.
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Those businesses will be refunded "every dollar" in payroll tax paid since July 1 last year and will have all payroll tax waived for the final quarter of the current financial year.
The second part of the package is $500 million directed into a fund to support sectors doing it "really tough" including hospitality, tourism and accommodation.
The Premier said specific allocations for the fund will be revealed in days to come however said it will be delivered in small grants for "tailored support" to business "that need it most".
"You can try to stimulate and create new customers for businesses but I that's incredibly difficult thing to do in such a time of upheaval and such a time of crisis," he said.
"The far better thing to do … is to provide that cash that will tie them over that will make it more likely they can be there at the end."
The third component will be $600 million for a range of different measures including rent relief for businesses renting government properties, waiving liquor licenses for 12,500 venues and supporting the unemployed.
"We acknowledge that there are people who have lost their jobs and many more who will lose their jobs in the weeks and months ahead," said Mr Andrews.
"We want to reemploy as many people as possible because we have an enormous amount of virus-related work that needs to be done whether it be delivering packages to people, cleaning trams and trains, there are many other different tasks that will be to be performed for all Victorians and it just makes sense to reemploy people who find themselves out of work."
The number of cases of COVID-19 spiked again in Victoria overnight with the total number now at 229.
Mr Andrews also urged people to follow social distancing advice and said while he didn't support shaming people for socialising, keeping a safe distance and avoiding unnecessary social gatherings was critical in saving lives.