COVID-19 measures extended to continue support for community

The Government will continue its support for Canberrans and businesses as we recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by extending a range of measures that were due to finish this month for those who continue to be affected by the pandemic.

The extension of support is targeted to industries that need it most, as we gather more data and information about the impacts of the pandemic.

Residential landlords have played an important role in ensuring Canberrans significantly affected by COVID-19 continued to have a home.

The residential tenancy relief measure has provided land tax and rates rebates to residential landlords who have reduced rent charged by at least 25% for tenants impacted by COVID-19. Almost 950 applications have already been received saving hundreds of thousands of dollars of rent for Canberrans who have been impacted by COVID-19.

We are extending the measure until 30 June 2021 to ensure residential landlords and tenants continue to be supported. Extending residential tenancy relief will help Canberrans as Commonwealth JobKeeper and JobSeeker supports are reduced.

Commercial tenancies relief will be extended until 31 January 2021 to align with the current end date for the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct.

The measure supports businesses significantly affected by COVID-19 by providing rates rebates to landlords who reduce rents for affected business tenants as well as affected owner-operators.

Over 500 applications have been received as part of the measure, and applications will be accepted up to two months (31 March 2021) after the measure officially ceases. This measure has saved businesses over $18 million in rent to date, and has been a highly effective example of Government sharing the costs of the pandemic with landlords to help businesses through one of their toughest trading years.

To continue our support for employers, the Government will further extend its payroll tax waiver/exemption assistance for businesses.

We initially waived payroll tax payable for six months from April to September 2020, for businesses directly impacted by National Cabinet decisions in March 2020 to restrict particular venues and activities and tapered this program as restrictions continued to ease in the ACT.

We will continue to provide payroll tax exemptions to businesses that are still unable to operate due to ACT Government health-related restrictions and case-by-case waivers for those that can only operate on a very limited basis, until 30 June 2021.

We will also extend the payroll tax exemption for wages paid to new apprentices or trainees employed after 1 August 2020 until 30 June 2021.

To further support the construction industry in the ACT, we will extend the Lease Variation Charge remission at a reduced rate of 25 per cent.

While construction has held up well, continued support for this sector will help us protect and create jobs along the way.

The remission will apply where an application to enter the LVC deferred payment scheme is made by 30 June 2021 and construction commences by 30 September 2021.

Payroll tax deferral for the construction industry will not be extended past 31 December 2020.

Other measures to be extended include:

  • Gaming Machine Authorisation Surrender Incentive until 30 June 2021
  • Tapering of rental relief on ACT Government properties initiative for community tenants who continue to be severely limited by COVID-19 until 30 June 2021.

The Government will review other COVID-19 support measures due to expire in 2021 (31 March and 30 June) as part of the 2020-21 Budget and make a full announcement in the 2020-21 Budget.

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