Revealed: $3b for businesses, households

THE State Government is set to announce a $3 billion worker and business rescue package amid fears the national unemployment rate could soar to 30 per cent.

The Courier-Mail can reveal 24,000 businesses will get an average payroll tax refund of $9000 within the week, and households are in line for $200 rebates on their electricity bills as the Government attempts to cushion the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy.

It follows the forced closures of businesses across the state, including pubs and clubs, gyms, cinemas, entertainment precincts and indoor sporting venues to stop the virus's spread. It impacted 51,000 Queensland jobs yesterday.

Treasurer Jackie Trad said the package would pump $2.5 billion into protecting Queensland jobs and businesses to ensure they could survive months of uncertainty and come out the other side.

"That is focused solely on keeping businesses viable during the shutdown and also supporting workers who are displaced," she said.

The mammoth package followed predictions out of the US that their unemployment rate may hit 30 per cent, which is being discussed at the highest levels in Australia.

It's understood there are fears Australia's rate could skyrocket to a similar level - a rate experienced here during the Great Depression.

Queensland's support package, to be unveiled today, will include an immediate refund to small and medium-sized businesses of their February and March payroll tax, giving them cashflow now.

More than 12,000 businesses will also get a tax holiday for the next three months.





Large businesses particularly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will also get refunds, with all businesses set to get a six month deferral of payroll tax as well.

"The Premier and I have been contacted by business owners every day and we've taken on board what they've said," Ms Trad said.

"For small and medium businesses, we will refund two months' worth payroll tax, putting an average of almost $9000 into the hands of each one of these businesses.

"We're giving them a three-month payroll tax holiday, saving those businesses an average of $13,360."

Combined with the payroll tax deferrals already announced, it means no Queensland business will need to make a payroll tax payment this year.

A $500 million fund will be set up to help displaced workers find jobs in fields where there will be demand, like cleaning, fruit picking and other public purpose jobs.

Industry assistance packages will also be drawn up and offered to large employers like Sea World and Dreamworld, which have been forced to close.

An additional $300 million will be spent on electricity rebates to households, with power and water use set to soar as people are forced to stay indoors and work from home.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the package was an unprecedented response to an unprecedented crisis.






Originally published as Revealed: $3b for businesses, households