During the strictest COVID-19 related restrictions, the WA State Government introduced a range of stimulus measures designed to assist the recovery, with a number of these measures already being implemented.

An overview of the different measures can be seen below and full details of each measure can be seen here.

On Sunday 7 June, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced a $444 million housing stimulus package designed to deliver a major boost to Western Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery, and support the building and construction sectors.

The housing stimulus package will deliver:

  • $117 million for $20,000 Building Bonus grants provided to homebuyers who sign up before December 31, 2020 to build new houses or purchase a new property in a single tier development (such as a townhouse) prior to construction finishing, creating 2,600 jobs;
  • $8.2 million to expand the 75 per cent off-the-plan transfer duty rebate, capped at $25,000, until December 31, 2020 to include purchases in multi-tiered developments already under construction;
  • $97 million to construct social housing dwellings and purchase off-the-plan units for supported housing programs;
  • $142 million to refurbish 1,500 existing social housing dwellings; and
  • $80 million for targeted maintenance programs for 3,800 regional social housing properties – including remote Aboriginal communities’ stock and subsidised housing for regional government workers.

The $319 million social housing package will refurbish 1,500 homes, build and purchase approximately 250 new dwellings and deliver a regional maintenance program to 3,800 homes.

The plan is scheduled for immediate rollout, and will run into 2020-21. The package includes an $80 million investment to fast-track a regional maintenance program, supporting workers and small businesses in regional WA.

As part of the plan, $97 million is allocated to build or buy approximately 250 dwellings comprising of new social housing builds and off-the-plan purchases ready for immediate construction, aiming to accelerate the start of building construction-ready projects.

Off-the-plan pre-sales opportunities will be acquired through a time limited Call for Submissions process issued by the Department of Communities and expected to open in mid-June.

For more information, see here and to read UDIA WA’s media release in response to this announcement, see here.

On Thursday 23 April Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced a $154 million relief package to add to the $1.7 billion stimulus packages previously announced.

Of this newly announced package $24.5 million has been allocated to support the building and construction industry to maintain a skilled workforce.

The package includes $10 million to provide an immediate, one-off payment of $2,000 to employers of existing apprentices and trainees currently receiving Construction Training Fund (CTF) grant payments.

A new grants scheme worth $9.5 million will be introduced to assist employers to retain their existing apprentices, with payments beginning from June 1, 2020 backdated from April 1, 2020.

The payments will range from $250 per month to $500 per month, per apprentice or trainee, depending on the trades facing the most critical skills shortages in the industry.

Apprentices and trainees employed in the industry can claim up to $1,000 to support the costs of undertaking short courses to assist them in upskilling.

For more information see here.

On Tuesday 31 March Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced a $1 billion health and economic stimulus package aimed at assisting households and small to medium sized businesses affected by COVID-19 as well as providing a boost for the healthcare system with funding for new hospital beds, staff and ventilators among other necessary equipment to help fight off COVID-19.

The headline details from the package include:

Household assistance

  • Eligibility for the previously announced Energy Assistance Payment boost has been expanded to include new eligible applicants until September 30, 2020. This doubles the amount of the EAP per year to $610 and provides a boost to Western Australians affected by COVID-19.
  • No households in Western Australia experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 will have their power or water disconnected. In addition, no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments for those experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship. This applies to Synergy and Horizon Power customers.
  • Households that are directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 may also apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax.
  • Keystart customers facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can apply to defer principal repayments and waive interest costs by up to six months. Assistance will be assessed on a case-by-case basis in line with Keystart’s Hardship Assessment policy.

These initiatives will be in place until September 30, 2020 and will be reviewed when necessary.

Small and medium-sized business assistance

  • Electricity bills for around 95,000 small businesses will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 credit available for Synergy and Horizon Power customers that consume less than 50 megawatt hours (MWh) per annum. The credit is available for current customers (as of March 31, 2020) and will be allocated from May 1, 2020 to reduce current and future electricity bills.
  • Payroll tax will be waived for a four-month period between March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 for small-to-medium sized businesses with Australia-wide annual wages of less than $7.5 million in 2019-20.
  • $100.4 million has been allocated to waive a wide range of licence fees for small and medium‑sized businesses in COVID-19 impacted industries for the next 12 months. This includes but is not limited to licences for building services, plumbers and electricians; settlement agent licence fees; and other statutory planning fees.
  • Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for payroll tax, transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax.
  • No small businesses facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 will face power or water disconnections due to late payments. In addition, no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments. For electricity, this will apply to Synergy and Horizon Power customers who consume 50MWh or less.

Community services assistance

  • Electricity bills for around 2,800 charities will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 credit provided for groups on community service and charitable accommodation electricity tariffs with Synergy and Horizon Power. The credit will be allocated from May 1, 2020 to reduce current and future bills and is expected to provide an estimated $6.9 million in assistance.
  • Funding certainty has been provided to community service providers, with government agencies to continue to pay contracts with the sector until at least June 30, 2020, even if providers are unable to deliver services due to impacts caused by COVID-19.
  • This follows the announcement earlier this week that $159 million has been directed from Lotterywest to establish the COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund to support not-for-profit sport, arts and community groups in dealing with the coronavirus.

A further $500 million has also been allocated to health and other frontline service delivery, as well as boosting capacity for additional industry support. This funding will go towards increasing supplies of personal protective equipment, ventilators, additional staff and hospital beds to cope with a surge in demand in the health system, and increasing cleaning of public transport and schools and any additional measures required by frontline services.

For more information about the latest stimulus package from the State Government, click here.

On Monday 30 March Premier Mark McGowan announced a $159 million COVID-19 relief fund to provide crisis support with the help of LotteryWest.

The fund will provide support to organisations that are helping people experiencing hardship.

An initial $59 million will be available for crisis and emergency relief support for eligible not‑for-profit and community organisations to assist with costs related to increased demand for food, clothing, shelter and other critical needs.

The funding will also provide urgent financial relief for not-for-profit sports, arts and community organisations experiencing hardship as a result of cancelled events. It will compensate for cancellation costs, lost revenue and incurred or committed operational costs associated with the cancelled event. Often these events were crucial to the ongoing operations of important community organisations.

Mr McGowan also announced a $25 million rent relief package for small businesses and not-for-profits that lease from State Government agencies and trading enterprises. The move will essentially see the State Government waiving rental payments for lease holders on land such as Yagan Square and Elizabeth Quay. It will also benefit eligible small businesses leasing land from the State, such as caravan park and eco-tourism operators.

On Monday 16 March, the WA State Government announced a $607 million stimulus package to support WA households, pensioners and small businesses in the wake of COVID-19. The package includes:

  • a freeze will be placed on household fees and charges, including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, the emergency services levy and public transport fares.
  • an allocation of $402 million in the 2020-21 Budget will go towards paying for the freeze.
  • $91 million allocated to double the Energy Assistance Package (EAP) in 2020-21 to provide additional support to vulnerable Western Australians. The payment will increase from $300 to $600 for eligible concession card-holders.
  • $114 million in measures to support Western Australian small and medium businesses.
  • payroll tax paying businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500
  • $1 million payroll tax threshold brought forward by six months to July 1, 2020
  • small and medium sized businesses affected by COVID-19 can now apply to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until July 21, 2020

To find out more about the initial WA Government stimulus package, see here.