QLD 19/20 Budget ups Universal Access funds, ECEC regulation and shrinks payroll tax
The Queensland State Government has handed down their 2019/20 Budget, increasing they their commitment to funding Universal Access to early learning for children in the year before school and to further develop and enhance regulation of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.
The total funding committed to ECEC by the State Government will increase to $293 million in 2019-20 from the actual spend of $270 million in 2018-19.
The increase in spending is focused on two key areas:
- Early childhood education and care sector regulation – The Government has committed to provide an additional $26.5 million over two years to maintain and enhance regulation of the ECEC sector. Regulation aims to ensure children’s health, safety and wellbeing is upheld at all times, and supports educational outcomes in the early childhood sector. $13 million has been allocated to 2019-20 with the balance to fall in 2020-21.
- Universal access for children in the year before school – An additional $30.4 million will be allocated over two years to help fund the continued provision of universal access to kindergarten for children in the year before school. $10.8 million will be allocated to 2019-20 with the balance in 2020-21.
The Queensland Government’s financial commitment to regulation compares favourably to a smaller $5.2 million commitment made in the same sphere in Victoria’s recently handed down budget. The Queensland budget, however, falls well short of commitments made to extending Universal Access in Victoria and the ACT, with both states electing to broaden Universal Access provision to include three year olds as well as four year olds, funding accordingly.
Additionally, the Queensland Government used the budget announcement to commit to increased funding of $63.6 million over a four year period to continue the provision of early childhood development programs and services to support children aged zero to five years with significant educational support needs.
Payroll tax changes support small ECEC businesses
In a move designed to support small business owners, including those supplying ECEC, the Queensland Government have confirmed in their 2019-20 Budget that they will be increasing the exemption threshold for payment of payroll tax from $1.1 million to $1.3 million from 1 July 2019.
This will be particularly welcomed by ECEC business owners operating in Queensland with wage bills above $1.1 million but below $1.3 million, as it will effectively exempt them from paying the 4.75 per cent payroll tax on the difference.
Commenting on this concession, Jackie Trad, Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer for Queensland noted that the change will mean “1,500 additional business will no longer pay any payroll tax.”
She also went on to highlight that Queensland payroll taxes are positioned materially below the likes of Victoria whose threshold is $650,000 at a rate of 4.85 per cent.
For more information on the 2019-20 Queensland Budget please click here.