Supporting local businesses and the economy

Fee and licence waivers

Small to medium businesses are receiving support to retain staff and get back up and running with COVID-safe steps in place.

Food business registration, outdoor dining and liquor licensing fees

Off licenced venues with gross liquor purchase value of below $3 million per annum and licenced venues will receive a 12-month waiver of their food business registration and liquor licencing fees from 1 April 2020. Outdoor dining fees for 2020-2021 will also be waived.

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 this waiver. This will be applied automatically as part of the normal annual fee licencing process.

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 availabl e on the Access Canberra website.

Other business fee waivers

The government will waive 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.

Supporting community clubs and the Casino Canberra

An additional payment of $1.5 million will be made, as well as the existing $1.8 million in the Diversification and Sustainability Support Fund freed up to keep staff employed. A total of $3.3m is available for distribution to clubs.

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 that 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.

Relevant legislation will also be amended to allow payment of award wages to staff to be claimed as community contributions where an emergency declaration has been made and provide incentives for clubs to prepare food for vulnerable people.

Payroll tax waivers

All businesses whose operations are directly affected by the prohibited activites 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 September 2020.

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

Commercial general rates

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

  • 2019-20 quarter four commercial general rates notices will be delayed by four weeks. Notices will be 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 will be charged at the 2019-20 amount.

Rates charges for commercial property owners who have been affected by COVID-19 can be deferred (interest free) up to October 2020.

Property owners can apply for a deferral on the ACT Revenue Office website.

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.

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:

Electricity rebates

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.

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.

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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: May 28 2020