Rebate boost for employers, but more need to benefit: CCIQ
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) welcomes a new initiative to double the payroll tax rebate for employing apprentices or trainees from 25 per cent to 50 per cent.
The increased rebate, announced today by the Queensland Government, will provide eligible employers with a greater financial incentive to continue training the skilled workers of the future.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said that while it is encouraging to see Government tackling youth unemployment, this measure will only benefit a very small number of Queensland businesses.
“The benefit of a payroll tax rebate is limited as the rebate will be accessible to businesses that have an annual wages bill of more than $1.1 million and consequently required to pay payroll tax,” he said.
“At present, only 11,000 Queensland businesses are required to pay payroll tax, representing only three per cent of Queensland’s business community.
“The existing payroll tax rebate scheme has failed to halt the decline of apprenticeship and traineeship numbers and we believe it has more to do with the eligibility criteria rather than the rate of 25 per cent.”
Mr Behrens said incentives which made it easier to employ young or disadvantaged job-seekers should be applied across the board if Queensland was serious about reversing the falling trend in apprenticeship and traineeship numbers.
“While the increased rebate will provide a greater incentive for those businesses that are eligible, the opportunity to meaningfully impact apprentice and trainee numbers can only be achieved if the demographic is expanded,” he said.
“We encourage the State Government to look at further policies, which complement the rebate that would also apply to the other 97 per cent of Queensland businesses.
“The Back to Work package announced through the Budget, which provides employers up to $10,000 to hire a regional job-seeker, is a good example of supplementing initiatives.
“But with that initiative aimed at only regional areas of Queensland, again there are thousands of businesses in SEQ which are ineligible for any grants.”
Mr Behrens said it was important for governments to keep in mind that declining apprenticeships and traineeships was, in effect, a consequence of softened economic conditions.
“The bottom line is that prospects for the youngest generation of our workforce cannot improve until the Queensland economy improves,” he said.
“Measures such as increasing the payroll tax rebate may help, but it is important to maintain focus on broader economic and tax reform.”