The Victorian Government will fast-track payroll tax relief, slash stamp duty, waive water rates and give local councils extra support as part of a major package to help fire-affected communities recover.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Bushfire Recovery Victoria Chair Ken Lay today announced the $64 million package, which gives councils, businesses and local families hardest hit by bushfires the support they need.
The package includes:
- Immediate regional payroll tax relief in “State of Disaster” areas, so that regional employers only pay 25 per cent of the metropolitan rate
- A 50 per cent concession on stamp duty for eligible properties, allowing businesses to relocate, expand or move into the fire-affected areas – sending a clear signal that these destinations are open for business
- Waiving water rates for 12 months for all homes or businesses destroyed or significantly damaged by fire, and providing rebates for customers affected by interruptions to their water supply
- $500,000 for grants to regional industry groups and chambers of commerce to facilitate vital networking events, tourism opportunities and pro-bono business partnerships.
- Small business advisers stationed at relief centres to give businesses the support and advice they need
- Support for the wine industry to access technical advice so it’s best placed for this years’ vintage.
The Government will also establish a $10 million Council Assistance Fund, administered by Bushfire Recovery Victoria, for local governments in State of Disaster areas to access funding for people who have damaged or destroyed property, support businesses subject to annual charges or permits, or to waive other fees or charges.
Eligible councils will be able to determine how best to allocate their funding, which may include rate relief for residents and businesses if they choose.
As part of the package, the Labor Government will also waive administration fees associated with VicRoads registration refunds for vehicles that have been damaged or destroyed, saving owners up to $60.
The Government will also waive associated costs and fast-track requests for birth and wedding certificates destroyed by the bushfires – a small gesture that will make a big difference.
The Government has now invested $250 million towards support for bushfire-affected communities.
As noted by Premier Daniel Andrews
“This is immediate and practical support to families and businesses who have been through so much.”
“We can’t change what these communities have been through, but we’re doing what we can make the recovery that little bit easier.”
As noted by Bushfire Recovery Victoria Chair Ken Lay
“This package will go a long way towards helping these communities rebound after the fires.”
“The feedback I’ve been getting on the ground is that this is the type of support bushfire-affected areas need as they start the difficult recovery process.”