FULL COVERAGE: How the 2017-18 state budget will affect central Victoria
News that regional businesses will now face the lowest payroll tax rates in the country was music to the ears of Bendigo’s business community on Tuesday.
In handing down the 2017-18 state budget, Treasurer Tim Pallas announced payroll tax cuts for 38,000 businesses across Victoria from July 1, along with a higher tax-free threshold.
For businesses “based primarily in regional Victoria”, the rate will decrease from 4.85 per cent to 3.65 per cent.
In Bendigo, that equates to a 25 per cent cut, and Be.Bendigo chief executive officer Leah Sertori said it was a win for local enterprise.
“Be.Bendigo, on behalf of our members, has been advocating for investment in supporting small business in a number of different areas for some time and one of those really important ones is reducing payroll tax,” she said.
“We think that’s sending a really important signal to business to have confidence in operating in Victoria that this is a state government that really recognises the impost of payroll tax that kicks in at, in our view, too low a threshold.”
Consistent with a pre-budget survey of Be.Bendigo members which named a redeveloped court precinct as a top priority, Ms Sertori said businesses were also pleased with a $3.9 million commitment to “develop plans to address current and future demand pressures”.
“At the moment a number of our members are engaged in [Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal] hearings that all take place in [Melbourne] so whenever they need to go to VCAT it’s a whole day out from Bendigo,” she said.
“And the legal fraternity here have a degree of expertise that’s really on par with firms operating in a metropolitan context now so they could represent clients and support cases right across the region if Bendigo had a fit-for-purpose court facility, so today’s announcement of $3.9 million for the detailed planning phase of a new court facility for Bendigo is really welcome.”
Ms Sertori said another welcome development to come out of budget day for Bendigo businesses was $22.8 million in upgrades for central Victorian schools.
“To see the state government commit to major upgrades for a number of schools in our region is very pleasing and we think that’s got great flow-on benefits for business locally in terms of getting access to really well educated employable young people after year 10 or year 12,” she said.