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Assistance for Small Business Affected by the Bushfires factsheet

as at 23 January 2020

The Australian and state and territory governments are helping small businesses in bushfire affected communities get back up on their feet.

This includes support for small businesses to recover and rebuild, address cash flow pressures, and access financial counselling and tax support.

Recovery Grants

The Australian and state and territory governments are providing recovery grants of up to $50,000 to eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations, where they have suffered direct damage to their premises or equipment from the bushfires and intend to re-establish in the community.

The grants are available for clean-up and reinstatement activities, including replacement of goods and products.

For more information visit www.business.gov.au/news/bushfire-support.

Concessional Loans

The Australian and state and territory governments are providing concessional loans of up to $500,000 to eligible small businesses (including primary producers) and non-profit organisations.

The loans are available for:

  • restoration and replacement of assets damaged by the bushfires; and
  • working capital expenses where a business has suffered a significant loss of income as a result of the bushfires.

Loans available for small businesses in eligible Local Government Areas whose assets have been significantly damaged or have suffered significant loss. Further information is available at www.disasterassist.gov.au and www.business.gov.au/news/bushfire-support

The above grants and loans for small businesses are funded under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. These are joint Federal Government-State cost sharing arrangements to alleviate the financial burden on the states responding to natural disasters and facilitate early provision of assistance to disaster affected communities.

Small Business Financial Support Line

The Government is establishing a support line to provide advice and support for small businesses in bushfire affected communities. The support line will provide information on the assistance that is available and access to specialist small business financial counselling services.

While the specialist Support Line is being established, businesses can visit www.business.gov.au or call 1800 413 828.

Tax Support

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, excise and fringe benefits tax returns to 28 May 2020;
  • allowing businesses that pay their Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments quarterly to vary their instalments to nil for the December 2019 quarter without penalty, and also claim a credit for the instalment amount paid for the September 2019 quarter; 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.

Taxpayers impacted by the bushfires can contact the ATO’s Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for help. This phone line is available for everyone, including those who are outside the identified impacted areas.

Further information is available on the ATO website: www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Dealing-with-disasters/In-detail/Specific-disasters/Bushfires-2019-20/

Tax Exemption for Disaster Relief Payments 

The Australian Government is taking action to ensure that disaster relief payments made to individuals and businesses impacted by the bushfires are tax exempt.

Key assistance

  • Deferral of tax obligations
  • Recovery grants for small businesses in eligible local Government areas
  • Concessional loans for small businesses in eligible Local Government Areas who have suffered significant loss of income or assets that have been significantly damaged
  • $75,000 in assistance to affected Primary Producers
  • Clean-up assistance for small businesses in Victoria and NSW

Disaster Recovery Payment

People are entitled to a one-off payment during a bushfire if:

  • you get injured
  • you lose an immediate family member
  • your home is significantly damaged or destroyed
  • a major asset or assets you own located at your principal place of residence has or have been destroyed or suffered major damage from the fire.
    Each eligible adult will receive $1,000 and each eligible dependent will receive $400. The Australian Government has also announced an additional $400 ($800 in total) for each eligible child to help families with education expenses.

To claim the payment, call Services Australia (Centrelink) on 180 22 66. You can call from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.

Bushfire Clean-up Program (VIC)

The program covers the demolition and disposal of all buildings destroyed or damaged beyond repair by this season’s bushfires. This includes:

  • residential homes
  • sheds and other out-buildings
  • commercial buildings
  • public buildings

More information available at www.vic.gov.au/bushfire-clean-up-program.

Bushfire Clean-up Assistance (NSW)

The NSW Government has provided funding to help cover the cost of clean-up for both insured and uninsured properties. If you are uninsured, please contact Public Works Advisory on 1800 88 55 39.

Rural Financial Counselling Service

The Rural Financial Counselling Service provides free financial counselling to farmers, foresters, fishers and related small businesses who are facing financial hardship.

The Australian Government is providing an additional 60 counsellors to provide support to eligible bushfire affected primary producers.

Those seeking assistance can contact their nearest Rural Financial Counselling Service office by calling 1800 686 175.

Grants

If you are currently receiving a grant, payment milestones and reporting timeframes may be adjusted to reflect individual circumstances. If you have any concerns or queries, please contact your funding agreement manager.

Key Contacts

National

Contact name Contact number
Disaster Recovery Payment and Allowance 180 22 66
Advance Payment and Additional Child Care Assistance 180 22 66
Business.gov.au 1800 413 828
Primary Industries Grants Program National Hotline 1800 900 090
Primary Industries Grants NSW 1800 678 593
Primary Industries Grants QLD 1800 623 946
Primary Industries Grants SA 1800 931 314
Primary Industries Grants VIC 1800 260 425
Rural Financial Counselling Service 1800 686 175
Debt recovery 1800 076 072
ATO Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218
Cashless Debit Card 1800 252 604
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
Lifeline 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

NSW

  • Service NSW 13 77 88

VIC

  • Vic Emergency Hotline 1800 226 226
  • Bushfire Recovery Victoria 1800 560 760

SA

  • SA recovery hotline 1800 302 787
  • Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grant (SA) (08) 8429 3242

WA

  • Emergency WA 13 3337

ACT

  • ACT Emergency Services Agency 132 281

QLD

  • QLD disaster and alerts 132 500

TAS

  • TAS alert (03) 6232 7551