In September, the Queensland Government released its Covid-19 Fiscal and Economic Review, eight weeks out from the upcoming election. The report summarises the economic strategy for the state and provides an update on the fiscal and economic estimations over the last and current financial years, which incorporates the impacts of the pandemic to date.
The review builds on Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan, committing over $7 billion to supporting Queensland jobs and the state’s economy. There were no surprising announcements other than the abolition of transfer duty for small business restructuring, however the rest of the finer details at this stage remain to be seen.
The number of Queenslanders who are unemployed is expected to continue at the current unprecedented levels well into next year, which is forecast to peak at around 9.0% in the December quarter. The predictions are that it will only fall marginally to around 8.0% by the June 2021 quarter, which is why the Government is borrowing billions in order to help soften the blow.
Many thousands of small to medium businesses have been among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly those in tourism-related industries and other key services sectors. A critical element of the ongoing focus of support will be backing small businesses, as they employ almost half of all workers in the private sector while also representing over 95% of all businesses across the state.
The Queensland Government has also allocated just under $250 million to extend the current relief measures for both land tax and payroll tax. While the full details are again yet to be confirmed, this extension is expected to amount to around 25% land tax reduction in the 2021 financial year.
The ongoing efforts of the State Government will be important to support all sized businesses, delivering improved regulation and reducing the regulatory burden and costs involved. These actions will ultimately support their participation in procurement and increase their business skills, which will ultimately be critical in order to help small businesses navigate and adapt to this crisis, before focusing on recovery and growth.