The McGowan Government has announced the introduction of an employer incentive scheme from 1 July 2019, to help thousands of Western Australian employers with the costs of employing an apprentice or new entrant trainee. It aims to increase apprenticeship and traineeship commencements by extending State Government support to a wider range of businesses.
A total of $182.4 million has been allocated for new employer incentives and training subsidies, including more than $45 million for regional WA. Under the new scheme, businesses will receive a base payment of up to $8,500 for employing an apprentice or new entrant trainee. It is estimated this will extend State Government support to nearly 6,000 businesses, and be of particular benefit to small businesses and not-for-profit employers. For larger businesses, the new scheme will replace the payroll tax exemption for new entrant trainees, providing more transparent and equitable State Government support.
The scheme will be funded through the redirection of payroll tax, once legislation is passed to remove the remaining payroll tax exemption for trainees. The payroll tax exemption for apprentices will be retained. Additional loadings will increase the payment for regional areas, employees with disability, priority occupations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, and apprentices aged between 21 to 30 years.
The State Government has worked with industry to develop the scheme, as stage two of the reform of payroll tax exemptions that began in November 2017. Around 2,600 businesses currently benefit from the payroll tax exemption for apprentices and trainees.