Government announces grants and loans for small businesses impacted by bushfire crisis

Tom Watson

23 Jan 2020

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Australian small businesses impacted by the nations bushfire crisis will have access to a number of financial relief measures following an announcement from the Federal Government on Monday. 

The support package will include grants, concessional loans and tax relief for businesses that have suffered from direct fire damage, as well as those that have been ‘economically impacted’ indirectly by the bushfires. 

Here’s a quick summary of two of the main financial relief components included in the package:  

Grants: Eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations that have sustained bushfire damage can access up to $50,000 in grant funding. According to the government, this program will be uncapped and grants will be tax free.

Concessional Loans: Small businesses that have suffered ‘significant asset loss’ or ‘significant loss of revenue’ will be able to access loans up to $500,000. Loans will be for up to ten years and will be available with a repayment holiday of up to two years (with no interest accruing over the period). When the interest rate does kick in it will be set at 50% of the ten year Commonwealth government bond rate which is currently around 0.6%.

RELATED: Guide to Australian bushfire bank emergency relief packages

According to a release from the Prime Minister's office, the release of the package comes after a week of consultation with small businesses and chambers of commerce from areas affected by the fires, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia. 

Commenting on the support package, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, said that while the government’s efforts are welcomed there’s still more that can be done for fire-affected businesses.  

“The Federal Government is responding to the needs expressed by small business representatives at the roundtable last week, with a suite of measures designed to assist small and family businesses deal with the extraordinary challenges they are facing as a result of the devastating bushfires,” Carnell said.

“However small businesses really need a tailored financial recovery plan. Without it, the chances are they won’t survive. We will continue to push for a Government grant that enables small businesses to go to their trusted advisor for a customised strategy.”  

Check out our articles on bank emergency relief packages and energy provider responses for more information.

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