The Palaszczuk Government is doubling an incentive for Queensland businesses to employ apprentices and trainees as part of the Government’s drive to create jobs.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Government’s scheme offering a 25% payroll tax rebate for employing apprentices or trainees would be doubled to 50%.

Ms Palaszczuk said the higher incentive would be available for 12 months backdated to 1 July this year and would also apply to all apprentice and trainees, including those hired under the scheme announced in last year’s State Budget.

“While apprentice and trainee wages are generally exempt from payroll tax, employers can claim the rebate based on the total exempt wages bill of any new apprentices or trainees they employ,” she said.

“For this financial year any employer in the state with apprentices or trainees on staff will be able to claim a 50% rebate.

“By doubling the rebate my Government is making it even more attractive for employers to hire and keep apprentices and trainees and grow their businesses.

“For some businesses, this incentive could make the difference between hiring or not hiring a young person and giving them a start to their career.”

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said more than 2,400 businesses had claimed the original 25% rebate since it was introduced last year, proving its popularity.

“The total value of the rebate until the end of May was almost $7 million, which is $7 million that is able to be reinvested back into those businesses,” Mr Pitt said.

“The doubling of the rebate for hiring apprentices and trainees makes Queensland’s payroll tax system even more attractive.

“Our state already has a highly competitive payroll tax regime with the lowest rate of all states and territories at 4.75% and a $1.1 million exemption threshold that’s higher than those in NSW, Victoria, South Australian and Western Australia.

“Those states or territories with a higher threshold have higher payroll tax rates.

“Increasing the rebate to 50% doubles the benefit to employers, equating to around $500 to $1,000 per year per apprentice or trainee which again is money that is able to be reinvested into a business.”

The Premier said her Government was determined to boost skills and create jobs, particularly in regional Queensland.

“My Government has restored the Skilling Queenslanders for Work and we have committed $100 million for the Back to Work program including providing up to $15,000 for long-term unemployed Queenslanders given a job in our regions.

“It’s an investment in regional economies and the future of Queensland.

“This gives our young people a greater chance of gaining employment and training and helps unlock the jobs of the future.

“It will help to tackle youth unemployment and allow us to develop a skilled workforce to support economic growth for Queensland in coming years.”

Anyone seeking more information about the Palaszczuk Government’s payroll tax rebate for apprentices and trainees should call 1300 300 734.

For more information about the Back to Work Regional Employment Package call 13 QGOV (13 7468).