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VICTORIAN businesses have largely been left “out in the cold” with a state budget that has no new imposts for the automotive industry but hits at payrolls and land owners.

The Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC), responding to the state’s budget, said it was a “mixed bag for the still-struggling business sector.”

“VACC notes that there are no new financial imposts specific to the automotive industry, which is a good start, but there seems to be little else in the budget for business and employment growth,” VACC CEO Geoff Gwilym said.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Levy will see a 0.5 per cent surcharge placed on payroll tax for businesses with wage bills over $10 million, and a further 0.5 per cent increase for those over $100m nationally.

However, VACC – the largest automotive apprentice employer in Australia with 500 apprentices – is pleased that apprentice wages are exempt from the above calculations.

Geoff Gwilym

“VACC is glad the government has made this move, as this levy would have otherwise seen less young Victorians in training, as organisations would simply not have been able to afford them,” Mr Gwilym said.

The budget reveal, led by Victorian treasurer Tim Pallas, included a commitment to increase the tax-free threshold on land tax which from January 1, 2022 shifts from $250,000 to $300,000.

The move is welcomed by the industry, however other Victorian businesses face an increase in land tax by 0.25 per cent for all taxable land holding over $1.8m, and 0.3 per cent over $3m.

“Industry welcomes the increase in support to struggling Victorians but maintains its position that businesses, which play a key role in the state’s long-term recovery, have been largely left out in the cold,” Mr Gwilym said.

The VACC added that the budget saw no new motor vehicle duties announced. It said this was “a major win stemming from VACC’s ongoing advocacy to discourage further regulatory and financial imposts to the sector.”

The chamber said the Victorian government was expecting increased auto tax revenues from higher sales and increased prices for motor vehicles over the forward estimates.

By Neil Dowling