Victoria Treasurer Tim Pallas delivers 2023-24 state budget. Image: Canva
  • Increased taxes to impact the big end of town
  • Smaller businesses received some wins
  • St Vincent de Paul Society responds to the Budget's priorities

The Victorian 2023-24 budget of new and increased levies is set to directly hit medium to large businesses and property owners.

A recently unveiled Covid debt levy will apply to businesses with national payrolls of more than $10 million. It also removes the tax-free threshold for businesses with payrolls of more than $5 million, as well as owners of more than one property – be they residential, industrial, or commercial.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra says, “The Government says this is the plan to pay off the ‘Covid credit card debt’ but they’re doing that by using medium to large businesses and property owners as an ATM over the next 10 years.”

“The State Budget takes Victoria from the most locked down state in Australia to one of the highest taxing, as the Government continues to hit business with for the debt incurred throughout the pandemic and cost blowouts in the WorkCover scheme.”

However, smaller businesses emerged with a win in the form of an increase in the payroll tax threshold from $700,000 to $900,000 and $1 million in 2024-25. Small businesses with a payroll of less than $5 million will benefit from a cut in payroll tax.

St Vincent de Paul Society response

The St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria offered guarded praise for a budget seeking to ameliorate the state’s sizeable debt.

Among Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas’ announcements, his $400 million Power Saving Bonus, which provides an additional $250 to households that use the Victorian Energy Compare website to search for the cheapest electricity deal, was well received by St Vincent de Paul Society Interim Group CEO Paul Turton.

“Keeping the lights or the heater on is a substantial contributor to the cost-of-living pressures on low income households, and electricity bill relief and funding to improve the energy efficiency of low-income households is always welcome,” he said.

St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria applauded a few other housing and homelessness initiatives, including:

  • $68 million to deliver a Housing First response including housing and support services for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.
  • $33 million to support young people with complex needs leaving residential care and other settings.
  • $117 million to support victim survivors of family violence and hold perpetrators to account.

“We are also buoyed by government assurances that no cuts will be made to our major services, such as our housing and homelessness services VincentCare Victoria or our housing provider VincentCare Community Housing (VCCH), which is excellent news,” Turton said.

“By calling on landlords and big businesses that did well during this period to help shoulder the burden, this budget didn’t take the easy road in addressing the sizable debt incurred during the pandemic.

“We applaud the government’s moves to improve the lives of disadvantaged Victorians by including funding initiatives that support low and middle earners and families.”

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