Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says the Victorian Government’s $3 billion mental health levy is devastating for big businesses.
More than 9,000 Victorian companies could be inflicted with a payroll surcharge as the Andrews government looks to invest $3.8 billion into the state’s mental health system.
Mr Willox says the levy shows a “lack of empathy” for what businesses endured during last year’s COVID lockdowns.
“Businesses have been disappointed, but sadly not shocked, that this is what the Victorian government’s done,” says Mr Willox.
“Of course everyone wants more spending for mental health but the view has been that the Victorian Government created a lot of Victoria’s mental health crises with the way they’ve handled COVID.
“To hear the Victorian Treasurer say business has done well and therefore they can pay for it just showed a complete lack of understanding of what businesses have gone through during COVID.”
Mr Willox says the Victorian Government’s imposts sends the wrong message and will impact investment and gross job creation in the state.
“To increase payroll taxes, as this budget has done, has undone almost 20 years of work by Labor governments,” he said.
“To put that (payroll taxes) up at a time when they’re trying to create jobs, when the national target is to get unemployment down to 4.5 per cent, just sends a completely counterintuitive message to business.”