RENT RELIEF

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government. Can the minister—

Mr Malinauskas interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Leader!

Mr PEDERICK: I'm going to start again. My question is to the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government. Can the minister update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government is providing relief to South Australians through rent relief for business tenants in response to COVID-19?

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL (Schubert—Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Minister for Planning) (14:57): I thank the member for Hammond very much for his question. This is something that I know is dear to us all here in South Australia as we witness what is a very difficult time in South Australia for businesses that have had to shut or substantially close as a result of COVID-19. How we provide relief for commercial tenancies has been the subject of much discussion at national cabinet. It has been subject to discussions through this house and was one of the early tranches of legislation that the government sought to bring in to help deal with commercial tenancies.

What was announced last week by the Premier and the Treasurer was essentially land tax relief to help incentivise private landlords to provide relief to commercial tenants. We believe that this is important because we know that it is one of those high fixed costs that sits on businesses' books regardless of whether those businesses are open, so the ability to ameliorate that cost is important. It is why the government took the step of putting in place land tax relief measures that will help, encourage and incentivise private landlords to provide relief.

It is also incumbent on government to practise what it preaches. In this regard, we have also come to the table as part of our billion-dollar stimulus package to provide rent relief to non-residential businesses that have been forced to close where the government is essentially the landlord. Significantly, there are quite a few of these businesses across a wide range of different portfolio areas, both under my purview as well as under the Minister for Environment and Water's purview, where government essentially is a landlord for a whole host of tenants.

We have put on the table as part of our billion-dollar stimulus plan $4½ million to help provide rent relief for affected businesses where the government is the landlord between here and 30 June. We believe that this provides strong leadership to show the private sector that the government is prepared to do what it is asking the private sector to do and is putting money back into the hands of those small businesses that we know at the moment are doing it so tough.

It is a measure that complements a whole series of other measures that this government, as well as the federal government, have taken in relation to the $10,000 grant in relation to JobKeeper/JobSeeker programs, as well as myriad other forms of relief that the government is seeking to provide to businesses in different industries. This package will help hundreds of businesses across South Australia and, importantly, is going to help put those businesses onto a surer footing through this hibernation period so that they can come out the other side.

We know how important cash flow is at this time as revenues take a hit, and to have the ability to be able to deal with these fixed costs is a way that, as a government, we can help these businesses not only to hibernate during this time but also to come back stronger than they were before. That is very much the aim of this government. The aim of the Premier is to be able to bring these businesses back in a way that makes them more innovative and more open and more financially strong to be able to deal with what comes next as restrictions are eased across South Australia.

This is an announcement which was made last week and which pulls together a whole series of things that our government is doing as part of our broader plan to help South Australia through this crisis, not only dealing with this period that we are in now but also helping to make our economy and our business community stronger for what comes next here in South Australia.