Tourism regions like the Great Ocean Road and the Bellarine severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak are set to benefit from the Morrison Government’s $17.6 billion economic stimulus plan, Senator Sarah Henderson said.

Senator Henderson has welcomed the Morrison Liberal Government’s announcement of a wide ranging economic plan to support jobs and business investment in response to the Coronavirus.

The targeted stimulus package is focused on keeping Australians in jobs, helping small and medium sized businesses to stay in business and supporting households and the Australian economy as the world deals with the significant challenges posed by the spread of the coronavirus.

Senator Henderson said $1 billion would be specifically put aside to support those sectors, regions and communities which have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of coronavirus.

Victoria’s tourism industry is heavily reliant on Chinese visitors who were banned from entering Australia in early February to help prevent the spread of the disease.

“As the Prime Minister and Treasurer have highlighted today, this stimulus package is targeted, measured and scalable,” Senator Henderson said.

“I am delighted that a big part of this package is $1 billion in assistance designed to help small businesses including in regional areas, severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak, get back on their feet.

“I have seen first-hand how many businesses along the Great Ocean Road are doing it tough through the recent downturn in international visitors.

“This package will provide a massive shot in the arm for tourism businesses in our region.”

Senator Henderson said other targeted measures would also be developed to further promote domestic tourism.

She said the economic implications from coronavirus were significantly different to those from the Global Financial Crisis and required a more specific response – one that helped ride out this crisis and saw Australia emerge stronger and more productive on the other side.

“As the Treasurer has said, we have been very careful not to repeat the mistakes of previous stimulus programs and not undermine the structural integrity of the budget,” Senator Henderson said.

“We’ve balanced the budget and managed our economy so we can now use this to protect the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of Australians.

“Our targeted stimulus package will focus on keeping Australians in jobs and keeping businesses in business so we can bounce back strongly.”

Other highlights of the package include:

  • $700 million to increase the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expand access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. For example, assets that may be able to be immediately written off are a concrete tank for a builder, a tractor for a farming business, and a truck for a delivery business.
  • $3.2 billion to back business investment by providing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct an additional 50 per cent of the asset cost in the year of purchase.
  • $6.7 billion to Boost Cash Flow for Employers by up to $25,000 with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible small and medium-sized businesses. The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff, between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020. The payment will be tax free. This measure will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people. Businesses will receive payments of 50 per cent of their Business Activity Statements or Instalment Activity Statement from 28 April with refunds to then be paid within 14 days.
  • $1.3 billion to support small businesses to support the jobs of around 120,000 apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice.
  • $4.8 billion to provide a one-off $750 stimulus payment to pensioners, social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. Around half of those that will benefit are pensioners. The payment will be tax free and will not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments. There will be one payment per eligible recipient. If a person qualifies for the one off payment in multiple ways, they will only receive one payment.

·         MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT treasury.gov.au/coronavirus

12 March 2020