SA offers SMEs grants to hire new workers

Image: www.adelaidenow.com.au

The South Australian government has announced a grant scheme, offering SMEs in the state – which has the country’s worst unemployment rate – $10,000 per each job created.

The Australian Financial Review and others report that the program announced in yesterday’s state budget applies to companies with a wage bill less than $5 million. The hires must last at least two years to be eligible.

“This is not available to Coles and Woolworths and BHP, this is for the small-to-medium-sized enterprises, the engine room of the South Australian economy, and lately it’s been spluttering a little bit,” said treasurer Tom Koutsantonis. SA’s SMEs number about 140,000.

According to the budget announcement, the “job accelerator grants” are uncapped for the number of new hires.

Companies with payroll bills totalling less than $600,000 annually are also eligible for a $4,000 grant per two-year hire under the scheme.

As well as the unemployment rate of 6.9 per cent, the Whyalla Arrium steelworks’ future is uncertain and Holden’s Elizabeth car factory will shut next year.

According to economic modelling released last month, the closure of Holden’s factory and the associated hit to suppliers will cost 13,000 jobs in the state.

“Our unemployment rate which I think every South Australian would agree is unacceptably high given what we have to consume with the loss of Holden, which was forced upon us — we didn’t ask for it,” said the treasurer.