Supporting local businesses and the economy

Small to medium businesses are receiving support as they reopen their doors and adjust to physical distancing requirements.

New stamp duty concessions for owner-occupiers

The ACT Government is offering stamp duty concessions in the ACT for some home buyers planning to live in their new property.

The following concessions will apply to contracts exchanged between 4 June 2020 and 30 June 2021:

  • No stamp duty on single residential dwelling blocks
  • No stamp duty on off-the-plan unit (unit-titled apartment and townhouses) purchases up to $500,000
  • An $11,400 stamp duty reduction for off-the-plan unit (unit-titled apartment and townhouses purchases between $500,000 and $750,000

Eligible new homeowners will be identified as part of the settlement process. For further information visit the ACT Revenue Office website.

Commercial rates and fees

Commercial property owners with an Average Unimproved Value (AUV) of $2 million or below on their property will notice;

  • 2019-20 quarter four commercial general rates notices were delayed by four weeks. Payable one month after the date of issue.
  • a credit of $2,622 (equivalent to the annual fixed charge) automatically applied to their quarter four 2019-20 general rates. If bills are already paid in full or if the quarterly bill is less than the credit, this credit will be rolled over to the next bill.
  • the 2020-21 Fire and Emergency Services Levy has been frozen at the 2019-20 amount.
  • The usual annual increase will not be applied to 2020-21 general rates bills. Changes in land values will drive changes in individual rates bills.

Rates Deferrals

Commercial property owners affected by COVID-19 can defer their rates (interest free) until October 2020.

Visit the ACT Revenue Office website to apply for a deferral.

City Centre Marketing and Improvement Levy

The City Centre Marketing and Improvement Levy will be reduced by 50 per cent in 2020-21 for commercial properties in the city centre and Braddon. The remaining 50 per cent will be deferred by six months until February 2021.

Visit the City Renewal Authority website to find out more.

Commercial tenancy relief

The government has developed a scheme that provides relief for business tenants and owner-operated commercial properties.

Visit the Commercial Tenancies page to find out more.

Supporting community clubs

A total of $3.3 million has been distributed to club from the Diversification and Sustainability Support Fund to keep staff employed.

The government is also supporting community clubs and Casino Canberra, to enable them to keep staff employed. Measures include:

  • Providing gaming machine licensees with the opportunity to access a payment of $15,000 per authorisation if they voluntarily surrender gaming machine authorisations;
  • A waiver/refund of gaming machine tax liabilities for clubs for March 2020 gaming activity (for clubs that pay tax monthly) or gaming activity in the first quarter of 2020 (for clubs eligible to pay tax quarterly); and
  • Providing clubs with a rebate of fixed water and sewerage charges on their Icon Water bills for the next two quarters.
  • a waiver/refund of the annual licence fee and gaming tax liabilities for March 2020 activity for Casino Canberra.

The government is continuing to consult with community clubs to investigate further ways to support them to keep as many Canberrans employed as possible as they re-adjust to a changed operating environment.

Clubs will also benefit from additional business supports and measures in this package.

Clubs interested in accessing payments to voluntarily surrender gaming machine authorisations should contact the Liquor, Racing and Gaming Policy team at:

Gaming tax liability waivers or refund are administered through existing channels related to gaming machine tax collection.

Icon Water will automatically apply rebates to water and sewerage bills.

Other initiatives will allow clubs to claim award wages payments made to staff as community purpose contributions where an emergency declaration has been made and provide incentives for clubs to prepare food for vulnerable people.

Fees and licences

Food business registration, outdoor dining and liquor licensing fee waivers

On liquor licencees and Off licencees with gross liquor purchase value of $3 million or less in the last reporting year will receive a 12-month waiver of their annual food business registration and liquor licencing fees from 1 April 2020. Outdoor dining fees for 2020-2021 will also be waived.

The application fee for a general liquor licence will be waived for existing on licensees from 22 May 2020 until 31 December 2020.

Commercial liquor permits issued to allow takeaway sales during COVID-19 can now be extended to run up to a total of 12 months free of charge. These permits support restaurants and cafes to continue to offer takeaway and home delivery options. These permits were initially offered to on licensees for three months from 23 March 2020.

If you hold an existing ON licence, you can also choose to move to a general liquor licence, free of charge until 31 December 2020 to provide an option to broaden your business model.

If food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the license.

Businesses do not need to contact the ACT Government for these waivers. This will be applied automatically as part of the normal annual fee licencing process.

Micro-producer application fee

Micro-producers will receive a 90 per cent reduction off their application fee in the first year of their off licence if they produce and sell up to $100,000 of liquor on their licenced premises. This will start from 22 May 2020.

To qualify for the initiative, you must:

  • have not previously held an off licence;
  • conduct your business at your licensed premises and sell only the liquor you produce on the premises; and
  • provide a written statement to the Fair-Trading Commissioner that the estimated gross revenue from liquor you produce won’t be more than $100,000 during your reporting year.

Visit the Access Canberra website to apply.  

Fees and charges frozen

A range of government fees and charges will not increase in the 2020-21 financial year to support the community to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fees and charges listed below will remain at current levels for 2020-21:

  • Light vehicle registration fees;
  • ACT Government pay parking fee and parking permit fees;
  • Public transport fees;
  • Food business registration fees;
  • Liquor licencing fees;
  • Infection control licence fees;
  • Taxi licence fees;
  • Rideshare vehicle licence fees; and
  • Hire car licence fees.

All fees and charges included in the following fee determinations will also remain at current levels for 2020-21.

  • Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Building (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Community Title (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Construction Occupations (Licensing) (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 2)
  • Controlled Sports (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Domestic Animals (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Emergencies (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Electricity Safety (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Fisheries (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Food (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Gaming Machine (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Land Titles (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 2)
  • Liquor (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Partnership (Fees) Determination 2019 –
  • Planning and Development (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Public Health (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Registration of Deeds (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Road Transport (General) (Parking Permit Fees) Determination 2019 (No 1)
  • Road Transport (General) (Pay Parking Area Fees) Determination 2019
  • Security Industry (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Sex Work (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Traders (Licensing) (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Unit Titles (Fees) Determination 2019
  • Waste Management and Resource Recovery (Fees) Determination 2019 (No 2)
  • Water and Sewerage (Fees) Determination 2019

Copies of the fee determinations are available on the ACT Legislation Register at:

Rideshare, taxi and hire car fees

The government will automatically waive the following fees;

  • The Rideshare vehicle licence fee will be waived for 12 months for rideshare operators from 1 April 2020 as part of the normal licencing processes. If licences have already been prepaid 12 months in advance, an additional 12 months credit will be added to the license at the next due date.
  • All government leased taxi plate fees will be waived, including wheelchair accessible taxis to help support this vital service.
  • the $48.80 re-establishment fee for taxi service operators wanting to re-register their vehicles after cancelling their registration due to COVID-19. The requirement for a roadworthy inspection will be waived for any taxis being re-registered, if the vehicle has undergone a roadworthy inspection in the past 9 months.
  • Hire car annual licence fee for 12 months. If hire car operators have paid for a 6-year licence, an additional 12 months credit will be added to their licence starting from the next due date.

You do not need to contact Access Canberra for this to happen.

The government will also provide a one-off payment of up to $5,000 to taxi operators who lease their taxi plates from private owners. This is in line with support already being provided to taxi operators who lease government issued plates in the Territory.

Taxi operators who lease their taxi plates from private owners will need to complete an application form available on the Access Canberra website.

Lease Variation Charge

The lease variation charge has been reduced by 50 percent (capped at $250,000) for developments requiring a lease variation. This applies to LVC’s paid between 25 June 2020 and 23 December 2020. Construction must commence by 31 March 2021 regardless of when the development application was lodged or approved.

LVC payments will be administered through the deferred payments system and the 50 percent remission will take effect when construction commences.

Infection control fees and training

Infection control fees

The government has waived fees for 12 months from 1 April 2020 for businesses that require an infection control licence such as beauty therapists, nail salons, tattoo parlours and dentists.

You do not need to contact Health Protection Services, this will automatically happen as part of the normal licencing process.

Infection control training

New nationally recognised infection control training is available from the 5th of June for workers in customer facing roles to help them understand how to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading as more businesses start to reopen.

Visit the Infection control training and resources web page to find out more.

Utilities rebates

Small business electricity rebate

Small business owners with electricity usage below 100 megawatts per year will see rebates of $750 automatically applied to their next electricity bill in around June or July 2020.The rebate will apply regardless of whether customers are on standing or market offers.

You do not need to contact your electricity supplier as this will be automatically applied.

Hotels and accommodation providers fixed charge rebate

Hotels and serviced apartments will receive a rebate of the water and sewerage fixed charges on Icon Water bills for the first two quarters of 2020-21, saving businesses hundreds of dollars in fixed charges as they transition to reopening safely.

Download the factsheet to find out more, or eligible businesses can apply on the Access Canberra Website to receive this rebate.

Cafes, Restaurants - $1,000 rebate

Cafes, restaurants and takeaways will receive a one-off rebate of $1,000 on electricity bills issued in the first quarter of 2020-21.

Download the factsheet to find out more, or eligible businesses can apply on the Access Canberra Website to receive this rebate.”

Payroll tax

Payroll tax waivers

All businesses whose operations are directly affected by the prohibited activities list such as gyms and indoor sporting venues, cinemas, beauty therapists and nail salons will be eligible to receive a six-month waiver of payroll tax from April to September 2020.

Businesses will need to complete a simple online application form on the ACT Revenue Office website to confirm their eligibility.

Payroll tax deferral

All ACT businesses with Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022.

Businesses will need to confirm if they are eligible by visiting the ACT Revenue Office website.

Payroll tax deferral for construction industry

ACT businesses in the construction industry can defer their payroll tax liability, interest free for the six months from April to September 2020. Interest will not be charged on deferred amounts until 1 October 2020.

To apply complete a simple online application form on the ACT Revenue Office website.

Rental relief to tenants of ACT Government owned properties

Commercial tenants significantly affected by COVID-19 may receive rental relief from 1 April 2020 for up to six-months.

Email ACT Property Group to find out more at:

Vocational Education and Training - Skills

The ACT Government is providing support for the Vocational Education and Training Sector by increasing subsidies for apprenticeships and traineeships and other VET students to access nationally recognised training in areas linked to skills needs across a range of industries.

Subsidies are provided directly to Registered Training Organisation and skills Canberra will make these adjustments automatically. No application is required.

CIT investment

The government will fast track CIT's Study Work Anywhere Any Time project to help CIT move its teaching and learning online by July 2020.

The expertise required to implement this project will be sourced from local SMEs, which will support the local industry and help keep high value technology skills in the region.

acknowledgement icon
Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: July 02 2020