The State Government’s move to extend payroll tax waivers beyond March 2021 is a welcome step and will reassure WA’s COVID-impacted businesses. The legislation will position an incoming Government to provide necessary relief to potentially thousands of WA businesses.
Waiving rather than deferring payroll tax during the height of the COVID-19 economic crisis was a key recommendation of CCIWA. The Government’s announcement is an important acknowledgment of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on WA businesses, as outlined in the WA Super-CCIWA Business Confidence Survey.
Among the State Government’s most significant achievements has been to increase the payroll tax threshold to $1 million, relieving the cost burden on WA businesses, promoting economic growth and supporting wage growth. WA can build on this progress by continuing to reduce reliance on this tax on jobs. Yesterday the Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe recognised that structural reforms to drive economic growth “need to remain on our national agenda”. This should include tax reform that seeks to remove the burden of payroll tax and move to broad-based taxes.
Driving greater investment and cultivating conditions that are more conducive to economic growth will ultimately mean fewer businesses need temporary emergency relief. This is also essential to reduce our fiscal burden.
Our State also needs a clear public plan to safely ease the current border restrictions and re-join the nation. The Government yesterday committed to work with industry to safely permit Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme workers into WA and to allow greater movement of critical agriculture workers from interstate. This will help to fill critical labour shortages and assist with the season’s harvest, and demonstrates that common sense agreement can be reached on the topic of WA’s hard border.
CCIWA urges the State Government to embrace major reform to build the strongest possible Western Australian economy. Every recommendation in our Pre-Budget Submission offers better tools to craft the conditions WA businesses need to prosper again.