Local Economic Recovery projects are beginning to be announced across bushfire-affected areas. Learn more.

Support for small businesses and primary producers

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

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

$10,000 grants for small businesses 

This grant was announced on 11 March 2020. It is funded by the Australian Government.

It is for small businesses in selected fire-affected Local Government Areas, as determined by state governments.

Applications opened on 16 March 2020. 

You can apply through your state government.

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, Unincorporated Victoria (including the Falls Creek, Mount Hotham, Mount Buller and Mount Stirling alpine resort areas only), Wangaratta, Wellington
  • In New South Wales: Armidale Regional, Bega Valley, Bellingen, Blue Mountains, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Eurobodalla, Goulburn Mulwaree, Glen Innes Severn, Greater Hume Shire, Hawkesbury, Kempsey, Kyogle, Upper Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid Coast, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Mid-Western Regional, Nambucca, Oberon, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Valleys, Snowy Monaro, Tenterfield, Walcha, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly.
  • In South Australia: Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island, 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 have 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.

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

Recovery Centres are established by state governments in fire affected regions, with support from the Australian Government. The centres provide a one-stop-shop for small business owners to ensure they have access to expert support.

Find your nearest Recovery Centre in:

Recovery grants of up to $50,000 (small business)

This support was announced in January 2020.

The application process and required documents have been 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 direct impacts of the bushfire, including damage from fire or smoke.

Key points: Grants of up to $50,000.

Spend it on: Clean up and reinstatement activities, including replacement of goods and products.

You apply for recovery grants through your state government.

For more information on recovery grants for small business visit the bushfire support page on the Australian Government Business website.

Recovery grants of up to $75,000 (primary producers)

This support was initially announced in January 2020, and has been updated. It is for primary producers in bushfire-affected Local Government Areas (Category C).

The Australian and State Governments have collaborated to expand eligibility, simplify application processes and documentation requirements, and extend timeframes to give primary producers more time to request support.

Applications are open until 15 December 2020 in NSW and 31 December 2020 in QLD, SA, TAS, ACT and VIC.

Directly affected primary producers only (including farmers, fishers, private foresters and beekeepers).

Purpose: Help with direct impacts of the bushfire (damage from fire, smoke, ash and/or soot).

Key points: Grants of up to $75,000. This includes the $15,000 grant available to primary producers under Category C arrangements. 

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.

Spend it on: Fodder and water, sheds, fencing and agricultural equipment. You may also spend this grant on clean-up from bushfires, including damages caused by smoke taint or ash, or soot. This payment can also be used to salvage or harvest damaged crops.

Read about eligibility and how to apply on our Primary Producers webpage

Wine grape smoke taint grants

The Australian Government is providing an assistance program of up to $5 million to wine grape growers impacted by smoke taint to assist in their recovery efforts.

The Wine Grape Smoke Taint Grants, of up to $10 000 are available for wine grape producers who have suffered crop loss from smoke taint caused by the Black Summer 2019-20 bushfires, and who are located outside of Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement Category C Disaster Declared Areas (for the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires). 

Grants are provided to support eligible wine grape producers impacted by smoke taint to recover from the bushfires and focus on business resilience. Eligible activities may include:

  • meeting standing business operating costs, including (but not limited to) utilities, salaries and rent
  • seeking financial advice to support the recovery or future plans of the business
  • adjusting the business to be viable in the aftermath of the bushfires
  • developing the business and extending business reach through marketing and communications activities
  • improvements to make the business more resilient to future disasters.

To be eligible, wine grape producers must provide evidence demonstrating:

  • the 2020 vintage of wine grape harvest was tainted by smoke
  • at least a 40% decline in income (or grapes harvested) over a relevant 3 month period since 1 August 2019 compared to the same period of the previous year
  • ability to make a dollar-for-dollar co-contribution (this can include funds already spent on eligible activities).

Crop loss from smoke taint can be demonstrated through a combination of smoke taint tests by an appropriately recognised laboratory, small-lot fermentation, or other documentary evidence. More information is available at www.wineaustralia.com/fireandsmokeassessment.

Businesses who have accessed the $10,000 Small Business Bushfire Support Grant are not eligible to access the smoke taint grant.

You can apply for a grant through your appropriate delivery agency:

Australian Capital Territory: https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au or call 02 62050900

New South Wales: www.raa.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 678 593.

Victoria: www.ruralfinance.com.au or call 1800 260 425.

South Australia: https://business.sa.gov.au or contact a member of the Small Business Team on 8429 3801.

Bushfire recovery grants for apple producers 

The Australian Government is providing an assistance program of up to $31 million to apple growers directly impacted by the Black Summer bushfires to assist in the recovery of production.

Grants of up to $120,000 per hectare for eligible businesses are available to assist with re‑establishing damaged or destroyed apple orchards. Businesses will be required to provide a co‑contribution to the value of the grant they apply for.

The grants are available to assist with re-establishing damaged or destroyed orchards.

Eligible activities include:

  • replacement of trees (this can include any variety of apple)
  • repair or replacement of damaged irrigation infrastructure
  • repair or replacement of damaged poles, trellises and netting
  • clean up of damaged infrastructure and other site preparation.

You can apply for this grant if you are an apple grower in active production immediately before the fires whose orchard suffered direct damage during the Black Summer bushfires (eligible events starting from August 2019). Your orchard must be in an area activated under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement (DRFA) for the Black Summer bushfires. For more information please contact your relevant state delivery agency.

You can apply for a grant through your appropriate delivery agency:

New South Wales: Visit the disaster assistance grants page at www.raa.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 678 593.

Queensland: Visit the bushfire recovery grants page at www.daf.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

South Australia: Visit the Department of Primary Industries grants page at pir.sa.gov.au  or call 1800 931 314. 

Additional support for Indigenous corporations 

Staff of the National Indigenous Australians Agency are available to assist Indigenous Australians and their communities, organisations and businesses get access to supports and services – contact details are on the National Indigenous Australians Agency Support to bushfire affected communities page.

The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) has established an emergency response grant for any Indigenous corporation whose property has been directly affected by the recent bushfires.

A grant of up to $20,000 will be available to assist Indigenous corporations to immediately secure and clean up damaged properties.

The ILSC will also make available a grant to assist Indigenous land management groups and contractors assisting the vital recovery efforts with much needed equipment.

Indigenous corporations should contact the ILSC on 1800 818 490 or EDOAdmin@ilcorp.gov.au. ILSC staff will be available to take enquiries seven days a week, from 9am to 8pm (AEDT).

Concessional loans

This support was announced in January 2020.

The application process and required documents have been simplified.

It is for small businesses (including primary producers) 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.

You apply for a concessional loan through your state government.

For more information on concessional loans visit the bushfire support page on the Australian Government Business website.

ATO Assistance

If you are experiencing difficulties with your tax affairs following the 2019-20 bushfires, the ATO can work with you to get things back on track. Whether you’re an individual, business owner or primary producer and are having difficulty meeting your tax and super obligations, call the ATO on 1800 806 218 so they can find a solution based on your individual circumstances. Visit ato.gov.au/bushfires for more information

Financial advice

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

The Rural Financial Counselling Service can provide free, confidential financial counselling to farmers, foresters, fishers and small related businesses, who are suffering financial hardship.

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

They can help you:

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

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.

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: