By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier 

The hotels industry has come out in support of the New South Wales budget, which flagged reforms to payroll tax conditions, problem gambling services and tourism expenditure. 

Handing down what was his third budget, State Treasurer Mike Baird yesterday laid claim to the "largest and most visionary infrastructure projects" in the State's history, along with beneficial measures for small business, which he labelled "the lifeblood of our economy".

In good news for SMEs, the payroll tax threshold will increase to $750,000, with a rebate of $5,000 applying to businesses employing new workers in the next two years.

"The hotel industry is made up of 'mum and dad' operators, and any increase in the payroll tax threshold to help small business we obviously welcome," said Australian Hotels Association (AHA) NSW CEO, Paul Nicolaou. 

"The increase in the threshold from $689,000 to $750,000 means about 1,300 fewer businesses will have to pay payroll tax and the rest will have their tax bill cut by around $3,000 annually." 

The AHA also welcomed the announcement of $130m to be spent on tourism and major events, which includes $46m to grow the overnight visitor economy in Sydney and regional areas. 

"Tourism is a major driver for our economy – last year alone NSW welcomed almost 28 million overnight visitors generating more than $20 billion for the state. 

"It is vital this industry is supported, and we welcome the Government's commitment to double overnight expenditure by 2020." 

There is also $15 million allocated to address problem gambling through counselling services, research and awareness programs. 

"Problem gambling has more than halved in NSW in recent years, but we are committed to working with Government to help see that figure drop still further," said Nicolaou.

The highlight of the budget is a big commitment to infrastructure spending, with $59.7 billion going to the largest urban road and rail projects in the country, and a drop in spending in the electricity sector in an attempt to reign in power prices. 

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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