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Assistance for Primary Producers affected by the Bushfires factsheet

Resist ‘self-assessment’ for your eligibility for primary producer support measures. Instead, talk to the relevant provider.

Primary Producers recovery grants of up to $75,000

The Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program is cost-shared by the Australian and State Governments. It can be used for everything from fodder and water, to sheds, fencing, and agricultural equipment, where those needs are not covered by an existing insurance policy. The grants can also be used for the costs of cleaning up, salvaging and harvesting damaged crops damaged by fire, smoke, ash and/or soot.

The $75,000 grant includes the $15,000 grant available to primary producers under Category C arrangements.

In July 2020, the Australian and State Governments expanded eligibility and extended timeframes to apply. 

Application periods have been extended to:

  • 15 December 2020 in NSW
  • 31 December 2020 in QLD, SA, and VIC

Eligibility has been expanded too. To be eligible, you must:

  • earn more than 50 per cent of your income from primary production and/or goods produced directly from primary production (i.e. wine made from grapes grown on your property).
  • spend part of your labour on primary production
  • have been carrying on your business at the time of the fires
  • not be a corporation
  • have an ABN, though you do not have to be registered for GST.

If you don’t earn more than 50 per cent of your income from primary production, you may still be eligible if:

  • you can show you will earn 50 per cent of your income from primary production within eight years for sectors that require long lead times (such as orchards, vineyards and nut growers) and three years for other sectors, or
  • you can show you would ordinarily earn more than 50 per cent of your income from primary production but this has been affected by drought, or is due to long lead times to full production, or
  • you are a private forest plantation grower or a private land holder who actively manages forest resources with the intention of deriving income from the timber, and can demonstrate that you will meet the 50 per cent income threshold when the trees are harvested.

The Australian Government has also removed the requirement that an applicant’s total off-farm income is less than $100,000 gross per annum.

Farmers, fishers, private foresters, and beekeepers are eligible to apply.

Importantly, applicants who were previously unsuccessful in securing this grant will not need to reapply if they meet the revised guidelines. Agencies administering the grants will contact them directly.

If your initial application is for less than $75,000 (the maximum grant amount), additional applications may be submitted if further funds for recovery are required.

Primary producers that have not yet applied are urged to speak to their state recovery centre to discuss their situation and eligibility for assistance. Please avoid self-assessment. 

You can apply for the primary producer grants through your state government.

Bushfire - Concessional Loans of up to $500,000

The Australian Government is working with states to help provide the emergency agriculture response. This includes providing expert responses to assist with field assessments of livestock. 

If a primary producer has been has been affected by fires and have concerns about livestock, they can contact the relevant State Government hotline. 

Boost for Wine Grape producers

Wine grape producers in smoke-impacted wine regions can soon access up to $10,000 to support their recovery efforts.

Worth $5 million, this grants program targets businesses not currently activated for the $75,000 primary producer grants. Grants may be used to cover salaries, rent, wages, utilities, equipment, fuel, business development, building resiliency and/or financial advice.

Wine grape producers must be able to:

  • provide evidence of smoke taint
  • show they have experienced a decline in income of 40 per cent or more since 1 August 2019
  • 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 this grant.

Subscribe to the NBRA newsletter or visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website to receive information on application processes and eligibility criteria, once available.

Apple Grower grants

Bushfire-impacted apple growers will soon have access to a $31 million grants program to help progress their recovery efforts. 

Grants of up to $120,000 per hectare will be available to eligible growers. They can be used to:

  • replace stock, damaged irrigation infrastructure, poles, trellises, and netting
  • clean-up damaged infrastructure or undertake site preparation not funded through other programs.

Apple growers need to match funding per hectare.

Subscribe to the NBRA newsletter or visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website to receive information on application processes and eligibility criteria, once available.

Support for Australia’s forestry industries

Up to $40 million will be spent over three years to help privately-owned wood processing facilities recover and rebuild.

The Forestry Recovery Development Fund will support projects that invest in upgrading existing manufacturing lines and promote innovation and diversification of products.

Grants are worth between $1 million and $5 million, and need a dollar-for-dollar financial co-contribution from industry.

Applicants must:

  • show they were directly damaged, or experienced loss of wood resource due to the loss of trees, as a result of the 2019-20 bushfires
  • outline how their project will benefit their business, community, and forestry industries
  • show their proposal is not funded through another Federal Government or State-based recovery package.

A further $10 million has been committed to establish storage facilities for processed timber products, fire-affected logs, and other forestry products. This boost to forestry infrastructure will provide more certainty for mills and help businesses plan their long-term recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and the bushfires.

Subscribe to the NBRA newsletter or visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website to receive information on application processes and eligibility criteria, once available.

Emergency agriculture response

The Australian Government is working with the States to help provide an emergency agriculture response. This includes providing expert responses to assist with field assessments of livestock.

If a primary producer has been affected by fires and has concerns about livestock, they can contact the relevant State Government hotline.

Farm Management Deposits

Primary producers affected by natural disasters can withdraw their Farm Management Deposits within the first 12 months of deposit without losing any claimed taxation benefits (deductions) if they have received primary producer Category C recovery assistance under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. To find out if this applies to you, call 1800 900 090.

Rural Financial Counselling Service

60 additional counsellors have been made available to provide free, confidential support. Rural financial counsellors can help you understand your financial position and the viability of your enterprise as well as:

  • identify your financial and business options
  • negotiate with your lenders
  • identify other assistance schemes
  • apply for Farm Household Allowance.

Check your eligibility and be referred to your nearest RFSC office by calling on 1800 686 175.

Mental wellbeing support

Frontline emergency distress and trauma counselling is available now. You can access up to 10 free mental health support sessions as an individual, family or emergency service personnel.

Contact your GP to find mental health support in your local area that meets your needs.

For immediate support, you can contact:

New assistance measures have been introduced including free distress and trauma counselling sessions (available for individuals, families, and emergency response personnel affected by bushfires). You can be connected to this free counselling through:

  • Recovery centres and evacuation centres
  • Mental health services commissioned by Primary Health Networks (PHNs)
  • Existing mental health counselling hotlines, including Lifeline and Kids Helpline

Bushfire-affected individuals, families, and emergency response personnel will also be eligible to receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 psychological therapy sessions through GPs, psychologists, and other mental health professionals. To find out more about the services, please speak to your GP, or visit www.health.gov.au

Emergency relief through charities

The Australian Government has provided $40 million to charities to help deliver emergency relief to bushfire affected communities, such as food parcels, clothing, vouchers and cash payments.

For relief through charities, you can call:

BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and flood.

In addition to assistance made available specifically to primary producers, we recommend you check whether you may be eligible for small businesses and assistance (particularly the $10,000 small business grant).

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
Rural Financial Counselling Service 1800 686 175
Primary Industries Grants Program National Hotline 1800 900 090
Debt recovery 1800 076 072
ATO Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218
Cashless Debt 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 43 57
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

NSW

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

VIC

Contact name Contact number
Vic Emergency Hotline 1800 226 226
Bushfire Recovery Victoria 1800 560 760
Primary Industries Grants VIC 1800 260 425

SA

Contact name Contact number
SA recovery hotline 1800 302 787
Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grant (SA) (08) 8429 3242
SA Agriculture 1800 255 556
Primary Industries Grants SA 1800 931 314

QLD

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