This year has been a testing year for the building industry. However, the Victorian government and Victorian Building Authority (VBA) have recently announced further financial assistance for building practitioners in the form of fee exemptions.
This is great news for those experiencing the full weight that the Victorian COVID-19 restrictions have had on demand for and access to building projects. Now building practitioners, under certain circumstances, will be eligible for fee exemptions to save them from the substantial costs of some fees.
Which Fees Are Eligible?
The fee exemption applies to building practitioner fees that are payable on and from 30 September 2020 to 30 June 2021. If a notice has already been sent, a fee may still be eligible for an exemption if the fee in question is still payable on and from 30 September 2020.
The fees that could be eligible for an exemption include:
- Application fees
- Renewal fees
- Annual fees
- Registration fees
- Insurance fees
These fees often cost hundreds of dollars. That’s why this fee exemption offered by the Victorian government will help alleviate the financial hardship being endured by building practitioners.
Who Is Eligible?
In order to qualify for a fee exemption, just one of the following circumstances must apply to you:
- Your employer is entitled to a Jobkeeper payment on your behalf; or
- You are personally entitled to a Jobkeeper payment; or
- You qualify for a Jobseeker payment
If you believe you meet the eligibility criteria, then you must attach a copy of your Jobkeeper or Jobseeker entitlements to your application. Your Jobkeeper or Jobseeker entitlements can be found via the ATO or Centrelink.
If you’re an employee, proof of these entitlements may include:
- A payslip issued by your employer that states the practitioner is clearing participating in the Jobkeeper scheme
- A bank statement indicating that Jobkeeper payments have been deposited into your account
- A copy of your employer’s Business Monthly Declaration that clearly specifies your employer is claiming Jobkeeper for you
- A formal letter from your employer on company letter head, signed by the manager responsible for the payroll, that outlines your current participation in the Jobkeeper scheme
If you’re an employer, proof of your entitlements may include:
- A bank statement indicating that Jobkeeper payments have been deposited into the right account
- A copy of the Business Monthly Declaration sent to the ATO
For those receiving Jobseeker payments, your proof of these entitlements may include:
- A bank statement indicating that Jobseeker payments have been deposited into your account
- A letter from Centrelink, including a date, which outlines that you are receiving Jobseeker payments
Once you have satisfactorily proven to the VBA that you are eligible for the fee exemption, you can expect to be contacted via email for confirmation that your relevant fee is exempt.
Good News For The Industry
Thanks to advocacy from the building community and particularly Master Builders Victoria, these much-needed fee exemptions have been introduced. These exemptions are just one element of the financial assistance the government has been providing to the building industry in Victoria and around Australia.
There’s the HomeBuilder scheme, which is subsidising those looking to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. Not to mention the First Home Owner Grant, which is helping Australians get their foot on the property ladder and the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements Package, which is subsidising 100,000 new apprenticeships. All this is playing an important part in keeping the building industry alive and well during a period of economic misfortune.