Andrews Labor Government falls short on relief

The Andrews Labor Government has failed to a freeze a number of fees and charges – including council rates and tolls – hurting Victorian family budgets under pressure.

The government today bowed to pressure from the Liberal Nationals who have, for a month, been calling on the government to exempt payroll tax and WorkCover from JobKeeper payments.

However, a majority of the $491 million package announced today is just a belated promise from the State Government to not steal a share of the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payment from businesses in desperate need of support.

The Liberal Nationals’ campaign has also called on the government to offer premium relief on WorkCover for businesses that have been subject to closure or highly impacted by COVID-19.

The Andrews Government has not adopted Liberal Nationals’ calls to waive registration payments for commercial vehicles grounded because of COVID-19 restrictions, freeze rates by local councils, cancel the increase in CityLink tolls or freeze the salaries of Victorian MPs.

We have also called for the automatic extension of licences that cannot be used, such as recreational fishing licences, given Labor’s ban on this activity. This too is missing from today’s announcement.

Victorians expect the State Government to have a plan to deliver a jobs-led, business-led recovery but Daniel Andrews’ announcement has fallen short.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics today show that Victoria has had the largest loss of jobs in the country between 14 March and 18 April of 8.6 per cent.

Comments attributable to the Leader of the Opposition, Michael O’Brien:

“When every cent counts for struggling Victorians, it’s a kick in the guts that some of the biggest costs to the household budget like rates have been forgotten.

“The Andrews Labor Government wants praise for not taxing Federal Government JobKeeper payments designed to support workers and struggling small businesses. It’s like a thief wanting a pat on the back for not robbing your house.

“Unfortunately for too many Victorians, this is a government that is too slow to act. Having already maxed out the state’s credit card, Labor appears to be cutting corners at the expense of family budgets.

“With Victoria showing the biggest loss of jobs in the country between 14 March and 18 April of 8.6 per cent, the need for an urgent plan to deliver a jobs-led, business-led recovery could not be clearer. 

“Victorians are already the highest taxed people in the country and we need this government to deliver more relief.”

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