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Rebuilding relief for Australia’s primary producers

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

More support for bushfire-impacted primary producers across Australia was announced on 23 June 2020. The forestry industry, wine grape producers, and apple growers will soon benefit from $86 million in funding provided by the Australian Government.

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency is working with State Governments to open these programs as soon as possible. Further information, including details on the application process and eligibility criteria, will be made available soon.

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Support for wine grape producers

Wine grape producers can access up to $10,000 to support recovery efforts and rebuild resilient businesses.

To date, most assistance has been directed to fire impacted areas. But we know smoke taint damage extends beyond the fire scar.

Worth $5 million, this grants program is targeted at businesses in smoke impacted wine regions which are not currently activated for the $75,000 primary producer grants.

Purpose: To assist wine grape producers who lost their crop as a result of smoke taint caused by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.

Spend it on: Recovering from bushfires and covering costs like salaries, rent, wages, utilities, equipment, fuel, developing the business, building resiliency and/or financial advice.

Key points:

  • Businesses must be able to demonstrate smoke taint via an eligible test (or similar evidence), and show they have experienced a decline in income of 40 per cent or more since 1 August 2019.
  • Wine grape producers must match the grant dollar-for-dollar with a private financial co-contribution.
  • Businesses that have received a $75,000 primary producer grant or $10,000 Small Business Bushfire Support Grant are not eligible for the Smoke Taint Grant.

Forestry Recovery Development Fund

The Australian Government is spending up to $40 million over three years to help privately-owned wood processing facilities recover and rebuild using innovation and product diversification.

The fund is for facilities that were directly damaged, or experienced a decline in supply due to the loss of trees, as a result of the 2019-20 bushfires.

The fund will deliver public-private partnerships and grants valued up to $5 million. Grants will require a dollar-for-dollar financial co-contribution from industry.

Purpose: To assist privately-owned wood processing facilities impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires.

Spend it on: The financing of projects that upgrade existing manufacturing lines and promote product diversification as a response to the impact of the bushfires to safeguard and create jobs in our regional communities.

Key points:

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate they were directly damaged, or experienced loss of wood resource due to the loss of trees, as a result of the 2019-20 bushfires.
  • They must outline how their project will benefit their business, community, and forestry industries more broadly.
  • Applicants must also prove that the proposal is not being funded through another Federal Government or state-based recovery package.

More storage to secure forestry products

To support the recovery, resilience, and growth of Australia’s forestry industries, $10 million is being invested into forestry infrastructure. Specifically, funding is being provided for the establishment of storage facilities to help store processed timber products, fire-affected logs and other forestry products.  

Purpose: To provide additional certainty for mills and help businesses plan their long-term recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and the bushfires.

Apple grower grants

Bushfire-impacted apple growers will benefit from a $31 million grants program that aims to provide financial support to aid recovery.

Purpose: To assist bushfire impacted apple growers and complement the work being done by State Governments.

Spend it on: Replacement of stock, damaged irrigation infrastructure, poles, trellises and netting, and/or the clean-up of damaged infrastructure and other site preparation not funded through other programs

Key points:

  • Eligible applicants could receive grants of up to $120,000 per hectare to help their business bounce back from the Black Summer bushfires. Apple growers will need to match funding per hectare.