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Northern Territory announces business relief for payroll, power, rent and rates

The Northern Territory Government is offering incentives for commercial landlords to reduce rents during the COVID-19 crisis.

An additional $180 million committed to the NT Jobs Rescue and Recovery Plan will help Territory businesses who need relief on the cost of their lease by offering extra support to commercial landlords so they in turn do the right thing by their tenants.

As part of the plan, the Government will abolish payroll tax for six months for smaller and medium-sized businesses, and defer it for six months for large businesses, and will slash power water and sewerage bills by 50 per cent for businesses for six months.

When commercial tenants demonstrate economic hardship and request rent relief, landlords will be expected to negotiate relief in line with the Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies, and if they do this they will also be eligible to receive payroll tax and utilities bills relief.

The Government will also waive the property activation levy for relevant landlords whose property becomes vacant due to the coronavirus crisis.

However, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said if commercial landlords do not negotiate in good with faith their tenants, landlords will not be eligible for this relief, or any of the economic support packages recently announced.

“This is an unprecedented crisis and all of us have to help carry the load,” Mr Gunner said.

“No one wants an empty shop or house or apartment. That’s not good for landlords or tenants.

“The Territory has never faced a challenge like this before. We’ve all got to work together to get through it. We are all on team Territory.”

The payroll tax waiver will apply to Territory employers with a total payroll bill below $7.5 million where turnover has been reduced by at least 30 per cent because of the coronavirus crisis.

The payroll tax deferral will apply to Territory employers with a total payroll bill above $7.5 million where turnover has been reduced by at least 50 per cent because of the coronavirus crisis.

The Government has also written to Territory local governments requesting they provide relief for six months through a three-month rates waiver, followed by a three-month rates deferral.

They are also working on legislative amendments to create longer periods of mandatory negotiation between tenants and landlords; and fairer terms for new leases when there is demonstrated hardship because of the coronavirus.

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