The Nationals WA have again called on the McGowan Government to lift the payroll tax eligibility threshold in light of WA’s worst unemployment figures in almost two decades.
In November 2017, the Government pushed legislation through State Parliament which resulted in a payroll tax hike for 1300 WA businesses. It was one of the Premier’s broken promises he famously apologised for.
At the time, The Nationals WA moved an amendment to the legislation which would have lifted the payroll tax eligibility threshold from $850,000 to $1 million. This would have provided a considerable tax break for more than 1100 WA businesses.
The amendment was voted down by both Labor and Liberal MPs in the Legislative Assembly.
“Given there are now 10,000 more Western Australians out of work than when Labor was elected, The Nationals WA are doubling down on our call for payroll tax relief,” Leader Mia Davies said.
“Payroll tax is a tax on jobs and a handbrake on the economy. It discourages small-to-medium size businesses from hiring more people and spending cash, particularly in regional WA.”
Ms Davies said Labor had proven to be inept at job creation – a key plank of Mark McGowan’s 2017 election pitch – and it was time to heed The Nationals’ call for payroll tax relief.
“The Premier this week promised to create 30,000 new jobs in regional Western Australia by 2023 – that won’t be happening without payroll tax relief,” she said.
“The Premier’s latest jobs plan is not worth the paper it is written on. A lift in the payroll tax eligibility threshold would make it look more reputable.”
Treasury spokesperson Terry Redman said The Nationals’ plan would have allowed the McGowan Government to keep half of the $435 million in revenue it expected to raise through its “temporary” payroll tax hike – due to remain in place until 2023.
“The Nationals are a Party which has historically backs small business,” Mr Redman said. “We’re pro-small business and pro-jobs. The same can’t be said for Labor with statistics today revealing WA’s unemployment rate is reaching crisis point.”
Nationals spokesperson for small business Vince Catania said the Premier was on the public record outlining his disdain for payroll tax.
“Despite his previous criticism of payroll tax, and despite his infamous promise before the 2017 election to not introduce any new taxes on Western Australians, the Premier was happy to let this tax hike sail through Parliament,” Mr Catania said.
“The Nationals are now giving the Premier a chance to save face. Will he take it?”