The NSW Berejiklian Government has today handed down its 2019-20 Budget. In this summary report, we have focused on the benefits to Business, through funding, grant programs or monetary benefits that directly support business.
Making it easier to do business
The Government is continuing to implement payroll tax cuts, progressively raising the payroll tax threshold to $1.0 million by 2021-22, providing tax relief for small to medium sized businesses.
From 1 July 2019 payroll tax changes make it easier to do business and cut red tape. Monthly payroll tax returns are replaced with single annual returns for businesses with payroll tax liabilities up to $20,000 per annum. Pre-set monthly payments will also be available for businesses with liabilities between $20,000 and $150,000 per annum.
The Easy to do Business program will reduce the time it takes to either open or expand a small business by cutting red tape. It will be easier for small businesses to interface with local councils and government bodies in five sectors (cafes, housing construction, clothing retail, printing and road freight). This program will receive funding of $27 million in expenses and $22 million in capital for 2019-20
The Energy Switch program has been extended to small businesses, helping them gain access to lower cost energy providers.
In February 2019 the Government launched a major procurement policy to help small, medium and regional enterprises to do business with Government. The policy encourages Government agencies to prioritise small and medium businesses when considering suppliers.
NSW Generations Fund (NGF)
In late 2018, the State deposited $10 billion into the NGF, with $7 billion from the sale of WestConnex and $3 billion from balance sheet reserves. As the NGF grows, it supports communities through the My Community Project initiative. This will allow communities to have a direct say in what projects get delivered in their local area.
Providing drought relief to regional communities
This Budget has increased the total investment in drought support to over $1.8 billion. This includes:
- An additional $350 million added to the Farm Innovation Fund, bringing the Fund to $1 billion, which provides concessional interest rate loans to primary producers to support farming communities affected by the drought
- An additional $185 million to continue existing drought assistance programs, including transport rebates for fodder, stock and water ($70 million), one-year relief from Local Land Services annual rates ($50 million) and Farm Innovation Fund loan interest relief ($10 million)
- A reservation of $170 million for a special purpose Drought Stimulus Package to undertake water security measures, including new groundwater supply at Dubbo, augmenting supply to Coonabarabran and construction of new supply at Nyngan.
Investing in regional communities through the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund
The Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund was established in June 2018 to enable $4.2 billion in proceeds from the State’s share of the sale of Snowy Hydro to be spent on state-building infrastructure across regional New South Wales. This Budget includes new funding to progress priority areas, including:
- An additional $400 million over four years for the Regional Digital Connectivity program (bringing the total to $518.8 million), which will provide mobile black spot towers and data centres to improve internet connectivity, speeds and reliability in the State’s regions.
- $20 million in 2019-20 to investigate and plan for further Special Activation Precincts.
The Government will spend an estimated $2.7 billion in recurrent expenses in 2019 20 on economic affairs and a further $405.0 million in capital. While we don’t have a full breakdown of this expenditure, or the form it will take, we understand it will include support for the following areas:
- Research and development.
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.
- Mining, manufacturing and construction.
- Fuel and energy.
Funds have also been allocated for strengthening regional communities through grants supporting local tourism and economies.
Budget papers can be found here.