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Support for small businesses factsheet

As at 16 April 2020

The help available for bushfire affected small businesses has been boosted, to help more businesses and make it easier to apply.

Call your state hotline and check what’s available to you. It might be more than you think.

  • In New South Wales call 13 77 88
  • In Victoria call 1800 560 760
  • In South Australia call 1800 302 787

Details at www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/small-business 

New $10,000 grants for businesses impacted directly and indirectly

This new grant was announced on 11 March 2020.

It is for small businesses in select fire-affected Local Government Areas, as determined by the relevant state government.

Small businesses are defined as having less than 20 full-time employees.

You apply through your state government. It is funded by the Australian Government.

Directly and indirectly affected businesses can apply. Primary producers can access this grant if they identify as a small business.

Purpose: Help you cover the costs associated with recovery following the fires.

Key points: Your revenue must have dropped, compared to the previous year, as a result of the bushfires. You can be directly or indirectly affected by the bushfires.

Spend it on: Expenses such as salaries, wages, utilities, fuel and/or financial advice.

The $10,000 grant is available to small businesses in the following Local Government Areas, which were determined by the relevant state government.

  • In Victoria: Alpine, East Gippsland, Indigo, Mansfield, Towong, Wangaratta, Wellington
  • In New South Wales: Snowy Valleys, Snowy Monaro, Eurobodalla, Hawkesbury, Shoalhaven. Bega Valley, Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Wingecarribee, Port Macquarie, Clarence Valley, Queanbeyan, Mid Coast, Wollondilly, Kempsey, Richmond Valley, Nambucca, Armidale Regional, Kyogle, Bellingen, Mid-Western Regional, Cessnock, Oberon, Coffs Harbour, Singleton, Glen Innes Severn, Tenterfield, Goulburn Mulwaree, Walcha, Greater Hume Shire
  • In South Australia: Kangaroo Island, Adelaide Hills, Kingston, Mid Murray, Mount Barker, Murray Bridge, Yorke Peninsula

 The Agency highly recommends that individuals resist 'self-assessment' and talk to their state service centre.

We’re making it easier to apply

We know filling in forms takes time and energy.

We are working to cut down the number of documents you need to provide when you apply, and made it easier to prove the impact of the bushfires on your business.

Governments announced a commitment on 11 March 2020 to make application processes easier, and you’ll see changes in the coming weeks.

Call your state hotline to see if the simpler application process will change things for you.

You can get help filling in application forms for bushfire support, from extra staff in Recovery Centres.

Find your nearest Recovery Centre at the web pages below:

Financial advice

Getting some financial advice can inform what recovery will look like for your business.

The Small Business Financial Support Line is on 1800 413 828.

It is staffed by specialist financial counsellors. They can provide advice on the assistance available in bushfire affected areas. 

Recovery grants (small business)

This support was announced in January 2020.

The application process and required documents are being simplified.

It is for small businesses and not-for-profit organisations in fire affected Local Government Areas (areas declared Category C).  

Directly affected businesses only.

Purpose: Help with costs associated with direct impacts of the bushfire.

Key points: Grants of up to $50,000.

Spend it on: Clean up and reinstatement activities, including replacement of goods and products and equipment damaged by fire, smoke, ash or soot.

Recovery grants (primary producers)

This support was announced in January 2020.

The application process and required documents are being simplified.

It is for primary producers in fire affected Local Government Areas (Category C), and for businesses located outside an affected LGA provided you regularly conduct your business in an affected LGA.

Directly affected primary producers only.

Purpose: Help with direct impacts of the bushfire (damage from fire or smoke).

Key points: Grants of up to $75,000.

Spend it on: Cleaning up and harvesting damaged crops. Fodder and water, sheds, fencing and agricultural equipment

Concessional loans

This support was announced in January 2020.

The application process and required documents are being simplified.

It is for small businesses and not-for-profit organisations in fire affected Local Government Areas (areas declared Category B).

Directly and indirectly affected businesses.

Purpose: Low cost finance to help you get back on your feet

Key points: Loans of up to $500,000. No repayments or interest for the first 2 years, and a concessional rate for the remaining term of the loan.

Spend it on: Restoration and replacement of assets damaged by the bushfires. Working capital expenses where a business has suffered revenue losses due to the bushfires.

  • In ACT call 13 22 81

Tax Relief Assistance

Businesses in identified bushfire-impacted postcodes are eligible for support and assistance through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), including:

  • deferring the due date to lodge and pay money owed as a result of business activity statements, income tax returns, fringe benefits tax returns and excise returns;
  • allowing businesses that pay their Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments quarterly to vary their instalments without penalty, and also claim credits for instalment amounts already paid; and
  • allowing businesses to opt in to monthly GST reporting from the start of a quarter (such as 1 April 2020), in order to get quicker access to GST refunds.

Visit ato.gov.au/bushfires to check your due date for lodgement or payment. If you're ready to lodge sooner, you don't have to wait until the deferred due date.

If you've been affected by this disaster and need assistance with your tax affairs, or your address is outside the identified postcode list, you can call the ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 (8am-6pm Monday-Friday) to discuss your circumstances.

Individuals and businesses impacted by the bushfires are not required to pay tax on any relief and recovery payments or benefits provided by the Australian Government in relation to the 2019-20 bushfires.

Extra staff in Recovery Centres

As part of the package announced on 11 March 2020, we are putting even more people on the ground, with up to an extra 50 people being deployed to Recovery Centres in fire affected areas.

Those extra people can help fill in forms, explain the assistance on offer, and answer questions to help people understand the processes.

You’ll start to see those extra people in Recovery Centres from next week (first staff on ground on 16 March).

Applications will still be assessed by the relevant state government, which we’re funding to connect people with support.

Business advisors

We are employing 21 expert business advisors to get out on the ground in fire affected regions and help business plan their next steps.

Those 21 business advisors will be working closely with Chambers of Commerce and local businesses in fire affected areas.

They’ll be on ground in communities in the coming weeks.

Bushfire clean up assistance

The Australian Government is working with the NSW, VIC and SA governments to share the cost of clean-up for residential and commercial properties destroyed by this season’s bushfires. This is a big task, and it’s going to take time.

This service is at no cost to property owners, and is available for insured and uninsured homes.

To register your property for clean up:

Key Contacts

It's good to talk

Contact name Contact number
Connect to counselling in your area                                       180 22 66
Lifeline 13 HELP
(13 43 57)
Mensline 1300 78 99 78
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

National

Contact name Contact number
Disaster Recovery Payment and Allowance 180 22 66
Financial Support Line for Small Businesses 1800 413 828
Primary Industries Grants Program National Hotline 1800 900 090
Rural Financial Counselling Service 1800 686 175
Centrelink debt recovery 1800 076 072
ATO Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218
Support for Carers 1800 052 222
A/H 1800 059 059
National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007
Salvation Army Disasters Assistance 1300 662 217
St Vincent de Paul bushfire assistance team 13 18 12

NSW

Contact name Contact number
Service NSW 13 77 88
Primary Industries Grants NSW 1800 678 593

VIC

Contact name Contact number
Bushfire Recovery Victoria 1800 560 760
Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)
Bushfire Recovery Grants Team
(03) 8862 5160
Primary Industries Grants VIC 1800 260 425

SA

Contact name Contact number
SA recovery hotline 1800 302 787
Supporting Business in South Australia 1300 142 820
Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grant (SA) (08) 8429 3242
Primary Industries Grants SA 1800 931 314
Green Industries SA (08) 8204 2051

QLD

Contact name Contact number
QLD disaster and alerts 132 500
Primary Industries Grants QLD 1800 623 946