Who can benefit from Western Australia’s coronavirus COVID-19 stimulus package?

Posted: 17 March 2020 3:02 pm
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Energy bills, paid sick leave and motor vehicle fees: How the stimulus package could save you money

The WA government has announced a $607 million stimulus package in an attempt to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The package is in addition to the federal government's $17 billion stimulus package, which was announced by PM Scott Morrison last week, and includes a number of freezes on household charges, public transportation and financial support for local businesses.

Here's how the proposed changes might help you if you live and work in Western Australia.

1. Household fees and charges frozen

$402 million of the $607 million will go towards ensuring household fees and charges are frozen until at least 1 July 2021. This includes electricity charges, water charges and motor vehicle charges such as car licence and registration fees.

It basically means that many of your household bills – which were expected to rise with inflation – will not increase.

There will also be no increase in the cost of public transport for Western Australians or the Emergency Services Levy. You usually have this added to your council rates to help fund State Emergency Services. Previously, the budget planned to increase these fees in line with inflation, which was around 2% and would have set you back around $127.

2. Energy Assistance Payment increases

The Energy Assistance Payment will also be doubled from $300 to $600. If you receive a payment such as a Disability Support Pension, Farm Household Allowance or Newstart Allowance, you should also be entitled to an Energy Assistance Payment.

The increase is intended to help the more vulnerable members of Western Australia handle their energy bills.

What is the Energy Assistance Payment?

The Energy Assistance Payment is divided into daily amounts and credited to your electricity bill if you are with Synergy or Horizon Power. For those who are not a direct customer of these energy suppliers, you may still be eligible and should check with the Energy Concession Extension Scheme.

3. Paid coronavirus sick leave

Public sector employees and casual workers in WA will also get access to 20 days of sick leave to encourage sick people to stay home. The leave will apply to workers who:

  • Have contracted COVID-19
  • Have to self-isolate because of the virus
  • Have to care for family due to school closures
  • Are not able to attend work for legitimate reasons related to the virus

If you're worried about your work situation as a result of coronavirus or have lost your job, you can check out our coronavirus lost job page.

4. Help for small businesses

If you are a small to medium business with a payroll of between $1 million and $4 million, the new WA stimulus package is offering a one-off grant of $17,500.

The plan is anticipated to help 7,400 businesses in WA and will cost the government $114 million.

There will also be changes to the payroll tax exemption threshold which wasn't expected to happen for another six months. It is being moved to $950,000, up from $850,000, with another increase of $1 million scheduled for January 2021

Additionally, if your business pays less than $7.5 million in taxable wages per annum you can apply to delay your payroll tax payment to 21 July 2020.

Picture: GettyImages

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