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The NSW Government today unveiled the 2020-21 landmark budget for the state, to enable a “strong recovery” out of the coronavirus recession.
In an address presented by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet at Parliament House in Sydney, the Treasurer said: “This Budget continues to support the industries that have made our regions so successful for so many years, and invests to create more opportunities to take our local produce to the world like never before.”
The budget announcement revealed a record $16 billion deficit for the state. NSW’s debt will peak at $104 billion in 2023/2024, and the budget will not return to surplus until the following financial year.
NSW has not had a budget deficit for almost 10 years.
The roadmap relies heavily on rebuilding regional NSW, in response to the economic effects of COVID-19, the 2019/20 bushfires and the drought. However, the Treasurer also revealed programs to assist small businesses, with the intention of creating more jobs and boosting the state’s economy.
Payroll tax relief
Mr Perottet announced the government will take last year’s Payroll Tax relief to a new level, increasing the threshold from $1 million to $1.2 million and the rate will be reduced to the lowest in Australia from 5.45 per cent 4.85 per cent.
The Treasurer said the cut is to “further support jobs” across thousands of NSW businesses.
The $39.3 million small business program
On top of the Government’s announcement in April of $9.8 million Business Connect funding for 2020-21, the program will be extended for a further three years, representing a total $39.3 million, four-year commitment.
A statement released by the Government on Saturday said the program is designed to support small businesses across the State to access targeted business advice and skills training, including how to build resilience and to recover from the state’s triple crises (drought, bushfires, COVID-19).
Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the $39.3 million boost was an investment into the futures of smalland medium businesses across NSW, from Broken Hill to Byron Bay and Blacktown.
“The NSW Government is focused on kick-starting the economy following 12 months of challenges. This funding will help businesses stay in business and create more jobs well into the future.”
Food and entertainment vouchers
The NSW Government is giving every adult $100 to spend on dining and entertainment in a bid to resuscitate industries that have been among the most effected by the recession.
Anyone over the age of 18 will receive four $25 vouchers to be used at COVID-Safe venues across the state, through the ‘Out and About’ voucher scheme.
Two can be used on food at restaurants, cafes and clubs and the other two can be used for entertainment activities, such as performing arts, cinemas and amusement parks.
“We want to encourage people to open up their wallets and contribute to the stimulus effect,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.
Women in the workforce
Under the landmark budget will be $10 million dedicated to getting women back in the workforce.
Women will soon be able to apply for grants of up to $5000 as part of a Return to Work program, which Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said will act as a “springboard” for women into their former careers.