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Western Australia delivers $5.7b surplus budget

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Yesterday Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan handed down his second state budget as Treasurer, focused largely on healthcare and infrastructure.
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The state delivered an operating surplus of $5.7b in 2021-22 and has an estimated surplus of $1.6b in 2022-23, with net debt of $29.9b expected in 2022, and expected to rise to $31b next year and $34b in 2025-26. As in previous years, the surplus is mainly due to mining royalties, increased taxes and the state’s GST share.

The unemployment rate is forecast at 3.75% for 2022-23, and with inflation at a high of 7.6% in the state in the last year’s budget, the Premier stated he expected it to sit at around 4% in the current financial year, and fall further to 2.75% in 2022-23.

 

Key highlights

  • $33.9b Asset Investment Program over four years for transport, hospitals, schools, and ports.
  • $2.5b for health and mental health.
  • $1.3b to ‘diversify the economy and create jobs’, including $80m for the Investment Attraction Fund, $69.5m for tourism, $50m for the Industrial Land Development Fund, and $41.2m for the international education sector.
  • additional $1b for the METRONET program.
  • $652m environmental initiatives, including an additional $500m for the Climate Action Fund and $59.3m to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.
  • $505m for education and training.
  • $445m for ‘cost of living support’ with a $400 electricity credit for households.
  • $400m for the Digital Capability Fund.
  • $350m for a Remote Communities Fund.

The 2022-23 budget includes the following revenue initiatives, many of which are aimed at reducing the tax burden on some taxpayers and simplifying tax administration:

Duty Measures

The following revenue measures relating to duty have been announced with effect from 1 July 2022:

  • The general rate of transfer duty will be reduced to match the residential transfer duty rate. That said, the top rate will remain at 5.15%.
  • The residential or business property concession for transfer duty will be amended so that it applies to all eligible transactions up to $200,000.
  • Duty will not be payable on a dealing in a prospecting licence, or a derivative mining right in relation to a prospecting licence, as long as they are not transferred together with other dutiable property.

From 1 June 2022, the existing off-the-plan transfer duty rebate of 50% for dwellings valued over $600,000 (capped at $50,000) will be expanded to include a rebate of 100% of the duty payable for dwellings valued at less than $500,000, and a rebate of between 100% to 50% for dwellings valued between $500,000 and $600,000. The rebate is due to expire on 24 October 2023.

Other duty measures, which will take effect from the day after the proposed Duties Amendment Act 2022 receives Royal Assent include:

  • An exemption from motor vehicle duty for service demonstrator vehicles and faulty vehicles returned to the seller.
  • Abolition of duty on Family Court Orders, such that duty will only be payable when property is actually transferred under an order.

Land Tax Measures

The following revenue measures relating to land tax have been announced:

From 1 July 2022, the 2% surcharge on assessed land tax liability will be not be payable even if a taxpayer chooses to pay in instalments.

  • From 1 July 2023, a 50% land tax concession will apply for new eligible build-to-rent developments.

Payroll Tax Measures

From 1 July 2022, the quarterly payroll tax return lodgement threshold will increase from $100,000 to $150,000, allowing more taxpayers to choose to pay quarterly rather than monthly.

In addition, hospitality businesses with annual wages between $4 million and $20 million may be eligible for a three-month payroll tax waiver. To be eligible, hospitality businesses must have experienced at least a 40% drop in turnover for any four-week period between 1 January 2022 and 30 April 2022, relative to a comparable period in 2021.

Road User Charge for Zero or Low Emission Vehicles

From 1 July 2027, a road user charge will apply for all zero or low emission vehicles. For battery electric vehicles, the rate will be 2.5 cents per kilometre, while the rate for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will be 2 cents per kilometre, with these rates being indexed to CPI from 1 July 2022. By way of comparison, Victoria already has a road user charge and South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania have announced potential charges in the future.

The budget also includes a rebate of $3,500 on the purchase price of eligible vehicles valued up to $70,000.

Federal Budget 2021-22

Federal Budget 2021-22

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