QLD Budget Extends Apprentice/Trainee Rebates

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick has handed down the 2024-25 State Budget which includes record health expenditure and a raft of cost-of-living relief measures – plus a continuation of training incentives for employers.

Fuelled by record debt predicted to push the Government into a $2.63 billion deficit in the coming year, as well as mining taxes and coal royalties, the Budget also includes measures aimed at tackling housing affordability, namely an increase in the First Home Buyer duty concession (to $700,000 for homes and $350,000 for land), an increase in the foreign acquirer duty rate from seven to eight per cent, and an increase in the land tax surcharge rate imposed on ‘absentee owners’ from two to three per cent.

Apprentice/Trainee Rebates

To encourage the hiring of apprentices and trainees, the Government announced the apprentice/trainee rebates for payroll tax will be extended until the year ended June 30, 2025.

Therefore, not only will amounts payable by employers to apprentices and trainees during their period of apprenticeship remain exempt, but a 50 per cent rebate will be available to employers, BDO Tax Partner Leisa Rafter notes.

Payroll Tax Changes

The Government has announced its intention to amend the payroll tax regional discount rate currently in force.

Currently, eligible regional employers are entitled to a one per cent discount to the following payroll tax rates imposed on employers in Queensland:

  • 4.75 per cent for employers or groups of employers who pay $6,500,000 or less annually in Australian taxable wages; and
  • 4.95 per cent for employers or groups of employers who pay more than $6,500,000 annually in Australian taxable wages.

However, from July 1, 2024, a new threshold will be introduced for a regional employer to qualify for the discount. Specifically, only regional employers who pay $350,000,000 or less in annual taxable wages will be eligible for the regional employer discount.

BDO’s Rafter says the change appears to be a targeted measure aimed at very large employers who are currently making a positive contribution to these regional areas.

“The original objective of the regional employer discount was to encourage businesses to employ workers in regional communities and, therefore, stimulate economic growth within these areas,” she says.

“This may detract from further investment in regional Queensland on new projects and as a result, reduce future employment in these rural labour markets.”

Motor Vehicle Registration Duty

The Government is reducing the registration fee and traffic improvement fee components of motor vehicle registration by 20 per cent for a 12-month period from August 2024.

However, this temporary reduction will only apply to light-duty vehicles less than 4.5-tonne gross vehicle mass.

This cost-of-living measure compliments the freeze to motor vehicle registration costs announced in the 2023-24 Budget Update, to commence in 2024-25 at an estimated cost of $281.8 million over four years.

BDO estimates the 20 per cent reduction equates to a saving of around $85 for a four-cylinder private-use vehicle for 12 months, reducing the registration fee to approximately $338.75 (excluding CTP).

The Government estimates the reduction will benefit owners of around 5.7 million vehicles across the state. The fee reduction will start appearing on renewal notices sent to customers from August 5, 2024.

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