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Business Relief for Payroll, Power, Rent and Rates

Office of the Chief Minister

The Territory Labor Government will deliver $180 million in additional support to Territory businesses as part of our Jobs Rescue and Recovery Plan.

We are:

  • Reducing payroll tax;
  • Reducing utilities bills;
  • Providing incentives for commercial landlords to reduce rents; and
  • Working with councils to reduce rates.

This is unprecedented action to help protect Territory businesses and save Territory jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

For Territory businesses that demonstrate substantial hardship due to the coronavirus crisis, the Territory Government will:

  • Abolish payroll tax for six months for smaller and medium-sized businesses, and defer it for six months for large businesses; and
  • Slash power, water and sewerage bills by 50 per cent for businesses for six months (for regulated utility tariffs).

This support will be effective for six months from 1 April, and businesses can apply from 1 May.

The Government will also help Territory businesses who need relief on the cost of their lease, by offering extra support to commercial landlords so they in turn do the right thing by their tenants.

This support comes with strings attached:

  • When commercial tenants demonstrate economic hardship and request rent relief, landlords will be expected to negotiate relief in line with the Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies, agreed to by National Cabinet. 
  • If they do this they will also be eligible to receive payroll tax and utilities bills relief.
  •  In addition, we expect them to be able to benefit from rates relief provided by local councils.  
  •  The Government will also waive the property activation levy for relevant landlords whose property becomes vacant due to the coronavirus crisis.
  •  However, if commercial landlords do not negotiate in good with faith their tenants, landlords will not be eligible for this relief, or any of the economic support packages recently announced by the Government.

Today’s announcement means the Territory Government is now investing more than $300 million to protect the economy and save jobs during this unprecedented crisis.

The coronavirus crisis is hurting every part of the economy, and that means everyone needs to help carry the load.

The Government has written to Territory local governments requesting they provide relief for six months through a three-month rates waiver, followed by a three-month rates deferral.

We are encouraged by our conversations with councils so far, and expect they will offer this relief at a minimum.

The payroll tax waiver will apply to Territory employers with a total payroll bill below $7.5 million where turnover has been reduced by at least 30 per cent because of the coronavirus crisis.

The payroll tax deferral will apply to Territory employers with a total payroll bill above $7.5 million where turnover has been reduced by at least 50 per cent because of the coronavirus crisis.

Support for households and individuals

The Government is working on legislative amendments to:

  • Create longer periods of mandatory negotiation between tenants and landlords; and
  • Fairer terms for new leases when there is demonstrated hardship because of the coronavirus.

We have already taken action to freeze regulated power and water prices and government regulatory fees at current levels until 1 July 2021 for households and businesses.

Jacana Energy and the Power and Water Corporation also have existing financial hardship arrangements in place to provide support and flexibility for households struggling due to the coronavirus crisis.

Today’s support is in addition to the action we’ve already taken to support jobs, businesses and households get through the coronavirus crisis, including:

  • Home Improvement Scheme
  • Business Investment Scheme
  • Immediate Works Grant
  • Small Business Survival Fund
  • Worker and Wellbeing Fund
  • Freezing fees and charges
  • Support for tourism industry
  • Childcare subsidies, classroom construction stimulus and remote teacher incentives.


Quotes attributable to Chief Minister Michael Gunner:

“I will do whatever it takes to help protect Territorians from the worst effects of the coronavirus crisis – to save lives and save jobs.

“Our Jobs Rescue and Recovery Plan is all about keeping businesses open and Territorians working, so that the Territory can rebound strong when the crisis is over.

“By reducing the costs for Territory businesses, we are saving Territory jobs.

“This is an unprecedented crisis and all of us have to help carry the load.

“No one wants an empty shop or house or apartment. That’s not good for landlords or tenants.

“The Territory has never faced a challenge like this before. We’ve all got to work together to get through it. We are all on team Territory.”