Western Australian government expands COVID-19 assistance to local employers

State's boosted program and expanded eligibility criteria to 'help more businesses'

Western Australian government expands COVID-19 assistance to local employers

The Western Australian government has recently announced its expansion of the state’s Level 2 COVID-19 Business Assistance Package initiatives to strengthen the support delivered to local businesses. According to a media release, WA has increased payments through the Small Business Hardship Grants Program and adjusted the eligibility requirements so that more businesses would be able to apply for the boosted grants.

“My government is committed to protecting and supporting WA businesses, local jobs and the economy from the impacts of COVID-19,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said, noting that the state’s “Safe Transition Plan” had set the course for “a much softer landing than experienced elsewhere in the country.”

“This has meant we have experienced less of an impact to our economy than first expected, and the level of demand for some of our support programs has been lower than predicted,” McGowan said, although he also acknowledged that some businesses were affected when “health and social measures were deemed necessary to keep Western Australians safe.”

“To assist these businesses, we are increasing the amount of support available and making it easier to qualify for support,” he said.

WA has made a new tiered grant available to businesses that have experienced a 30 percent reduction in turnover over any consecutive two-week period between January 1, 2022, and April 30, 2022, relative to the same period last year. A business that belongs in the said category would be eligible for a grant ranging between $3,750 and $37,500. However, the state government has reminded employers that it would still depend on the size of the business and the number of employees.

The state government has also increased the value of the grants depending on the size of the business and the number of employees, as WA increased the payments to sole traders from $3,000 to $5,000, and payments to micro businesses have increased from $7,500 to $10,000.

More large hospitality businesses are also set to benefit as WA expanded the eligibility criteria to access payroll tax relief. Large hospitality businesses with payrolls between $4 million and $20 million will now receive a three-month payroll tax waiver if they have experienced a 40 percent drop or more in turnover over any four-week period between January 1, 2022, and April 30, 2022, relative to a comparable period last year.

Meanwhile, WA Small Business Minister Don Punch echoed the Premier’s insights. “Small businesses are essential to the economic vitality and social fabric of every corner of Western Australia, and this Government is committed to supporting the small business sector as we navigate through this phase of the pandemic,” Punch said.

Punch has since urged small businesses that COVID-19 has impacted to check their eligibility against the revised criteria. 

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