On Thursday 20 May 2021, the Victorian Government handed down its 2021-22 State Budget and the key theme was very much about jobs.
This year’s Budget builds on the Jobs Plan established during the last budget to support an average of 38,000 jobs each year over the next four years. The Jobs Plan has supported thousands of Victorian businesses and workers and a total of $2.6 billion was paid out to 134,000 businesses in the three rounds of the Business Support Fund. A further $262 million was provided to businesses through the Business Resilience Package.
The Government is providing a further $431 million to support businesses and create new jobs which includes $147 to support businesses and workers with the Circuit Breaker Action Business Support Package, $51 million to support the international education sector and $31 million to support Victorian Businesses with ongoing COVIDSafe activities.
Support for Business
The Government is bringing forward tax cuts for businesses to 1 July 2021. The payroll tax‑free threshold will be increased to $700,000 – reducing tax for 42,000 businesses across the state.
The Government will also continue supporting small and medium-sized Victorian businesses through business recovery and resilience mentoring services, small business support toolkits, and a Ready for Growth service to support high-growth potential businesses through masterclasses and personalised coaching, including in advanced digital engagement and innovation.
$180 million over 3 years will be provided to commence development of the former General Motors Holden site at Fishermans Bend into a centre of innovation in advanced manufacturing, engineering and design.
Victoria’s defence industry and supply chains will also be supported to secure roles in delivering major defence contracts through advocacy, advisory and capability development activities. These objectives will be delivered through the Victorian Defence Industry Advocate and the operations of the Defence Council of Victoria, the Victorian Defence Alliances and the Defence Science Institute.
Recovery in regional Victoria
The Budget includes investment of $33 million for the agriculture industry to grow and protect the sector so it continues to be a cornerstone of the economy, in line with the Andrews Labor Government’s transformative 10-year Agriculture Strategy. This includes investing $12 million to deliver the establishment of a traceability information hub, the development of new systems to prove the origin and quality of Victorian produce, and campaigns to promote the paddock‑to‑plate journey of Victoria’s produce.
The regional employer rate will also reduce from 2.02 per cent to 1.2125 per cent from 1 July 2021, further reducing tax for around 4,000 regional businesses.
Funding will also be provided to activate the Food Manufacturing Precinct on Alexanders Road in Morwell. This investment will deliver pioneering infrastructure allowing the precinct to manage greater water and energy demands. Activation of the precinct will create employment opportunities by attracting value-adding food businesses to the Latrobe Valley.
Kickstarting Victoria’s tourism economy
The Budget will help strengthen Victoria’s reputation as the nation’s leading business destination, with a $43 million Business Events Program to attract a strong pipeline of business events to our state.
The budget also includes a new $10 million distillery door grant scheme that will support Victoria’s distillery industry, supporting jobs and the visitor economy.
A further $8.9 million will support the new Visitor Economy Partnerships, driving more tourists to Victoria’s regional communities and additional funding will also support new marketing and engagement activities, attracting more visitors and supporting local jobs.
The Budget provides $107 million to help drive economic activity and revitalise Melbourne’s central business district. This includes $7.4 million for a new voucher scheme to entice Melburnians and visitors to city cafes and restaurants, and support CBD arts and cultural events.
This Budget invests $623 million to support the strength of neighbourhoods and communities. An investment of $55 million will deliver new and upgraded community sport and recreation infrastructure, increasing participation opportunities and improving access for local families. This includes extending the Female Friendly Facilities Fund to deliver new community pavilions, changerooms, playing grounds and courts.
A further $50 million will provide a boost to the Growing Suburbs Fund, delivering the local projects that matter to local communities in the interface and peri-urban areas.
Funding of $384 million will continue the Reducing Bushfire Risk Program and Safer Together Strategy to reduce the impact of bushfires on Victorian communities, the economy and the environment.