NSW Premier announces $250m jobs program

The NSW government plans to entice domestic and international business to the state with payroll tax relief as part of a new $250 million jobs program.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says jobs growth is her number one priority in the next 12 months. 

“We absolutely have to get jobs growth right,” Ms Berejiklian told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia during her ‘State of the State’ address on Thursday. 

“I don’t want hundreds of thousands of families worried about whether or not they have a job beyond March next year. 

“It has be our priority – job security, job creation, jobs growth is at the heart of our consideration at this point in time.”

Ms Berejiklian said the Jobs Plus program, part of the 2020-21 state budget to be delivered on November 17, would create or support up to 25,000 new jobs to June 2022.

“The … program will allow companies to rescale and hire people, which will also allow companies to have up to four years of payroll tax relief if they employ more than 30 people to June, 2022,” she told reporters later.

The program was an “unashamed grab for head offices” and would back companies that wanted to relocate or expand their jobs footprint in the state. 

“Jobs Plus will entice top-performing companies from interstate and across the globe to NSW, and cements this state as the best place to do business in Australia,” she said.

Under the program, the NSW government will support businesses that create at least 30 new net jobs. 

Support will include payroll tax relief, up to a four-year period, for every new job created where a business has created at least 30 new net jobs. 

It will also include fast-tracked planning approval pathways and advice, plus guidance on appropriate site selection to increase speed to market, Ms Berejiklian said. 

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the program would reduce costs for businesses looking to scale and grow in the state.

“This is a clear signal to the private sector that NSW is the best place to invest and grow your business,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We are backing private and non-government sectors seeking to invest in job-creating projects, proposals and partnerships by supporting them throughout the critical stages of business development.”

The state’s peak business organisation welcomed the payroll tax relief as a “huge boost” for job creation. 

“We need to identify ways to supercharge parts of the economy able to absorb spare economic capacity,” Business NSW chief Nola Watson said in a statement. 

“Payroll tax is a barrier to job creation and the Jobs Plus program will remove one of the biggest barriers for employers looking to expand or relocate to NSW.”

However, Labor’s finance spokesman Walt Secord said the program would give large international businesses a “payroll tax holiday” while “completely overlooking” small local businesses.

He called on the government to restructure its business programs, saying the take-up rate had been “woefully inadequate”. 

“There is no point in announcing programs if you don’t spend the cash or provide funds to small businesses.”

The Jobs Plus program will run from December 15 to June 30, 2022. 

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