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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, 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 announced in January 2020. 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, 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

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: