STATE BUDGET: SMEs get payroll tax cut as big business pay for mental health support

The State Government will deliver payroll tax cuts to small‑and‑medium-sized business, and support to mental health, as part of the 2022-23 Budget.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the budget delivered on the bipartisan recommendation of the Mental Health Select Committee to create a dedicated funding source for mental health, alcohol and other drug services.

“The bipartisan mental health select committee was clear, we must invest more through a dedicated funding source,” the Treasurer said.

“The 2022-23 Budget delivers on this recommendation, with the creation of a mental health levy on large businesses with national payrolls of more than $10 million.

“The levy will impact less than 6000 businesses in Queensland, including 850 businesses with national payrolls of more than $100 million.

“It will inject $1.64 billion into the state over five years to improve mental health and wellbeing and combat substance abuse.

“At the same time we are cutting payroll tax for small-and-medium-sized businesses with payrolls up to $10.4 million,” he said.

“This will provide benefits of up to $26,000 per year for over 12,000 small-and-medium-sized businesses.

“As a result of these changes, only the top one per cent of large Queensland businesses will pay more

“Most importantly, new mental health, alcohol and drug services will be supported by up to $425 million per year.”

Under the arrangement, larger businesses with a payroll of more than $10 million will need to pay a levy of 2.5 cents for every $10 of taxable wages they pay above $10 million.

Very large businesses, who have payrolls of more than $100 million, such as major supermarkets, will pay an additional levy of just five cents for every $10 of taxable wages they pay above $100 million.

“Big businesses like large supermarkets and banks have done well out of COVID, with many being supported with significant grants like JobKeeper even when they were profitable, and are well placed to chip in to address mental illness,” Mr Dick said.

“As distinguished economists such as Professor Allan Fels and Stephen Duckett have observed, the productivity gains from additional investment in mental health will dwarf the costs of the levy, and larger businesses are well positioned to reap these productivity rewards.”

“Existing payroll tax exemptions, such as for charities, will be unaffected.

“Queensland will continue to deliver the most competitive tax system on the east coast, including the lowest level of state taxation per capita of any major state, and a higher payroll tax free threshold than both New South Wales and Victoria.”