Bushfire recovery


Overview

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

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) recommends seeking individual advice from your financial advisor, business manager or accountant on how these measures may support your practice. 

The RACGP recommends calling your state hotline to check what’s available to support your practice.

  • New South Wales - 13 77 88
  • Victoria - 1800 560 760
  • South Australia - 1800 302 787

New $10,000 grants for small businesses

This new grant was announced 11 March 2020, funded by the Australian Government. The aim is to help small businesses cover the costs associated with recovery following the recent fires. The grants can be spent on expenses such as salaries, wages, utilities, fuel and/or financial advice.

Applications opened the week commencing 16 March 2020.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible, your revenue must have dropped by 40% over a three-month period, compared to the previous year, as a result of the bushfires. You can be directly or indirectly affected by the bushfires.

Your practice must be located in selected fire-affected Local Government Areas, as determined by state governments.

Victoria

East Gippsland, Towong, Alpine

New South Wales

Snowy Valleys, Snowy Monaro, Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven. Bega Valley, Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Wingecarribee, Port Macquarie, Clarence Valley, Queanbeyan, Mid Coast, Wollondilly, Kempsey, Richmond Valley, Nambucca

South Australia

Kangaroo Island


What do practices need to do?

You apply through your state government, by calling your state hotline on the number above.

You can get help filling in application forms for bushfire support from 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.

Recovery grants for small businesses directly affected by the fires

Grants of up to $50,000 available for small businesses in category C fire affected areas. Grants can assist with the direct impacts such as fire or smoke damage.

Apply for recovery grants through your state government.

Concessional loans for small businesses directly and indirectly affected by the fires

Low cost finance is available for small businesses in Category B fire affected areas to spend on restoration and replacement of damaged assets. Loans amounts can be up to $500,000. No repayments or interest for the first 2 years, and a concessional rate for the remaining term of the loan.

ATO administrative concessions

Businesses in 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 returns, fringe benefits tax returns and excise returns to 28 May 2020
  • allowing businesses that pay their Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments quarterly to vary their instalments without penalty, and also claim credits for instalment amounts already paid
  • 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.

Call the ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 (8am-6pm Monday-Friday) to discuss your circumstances.

Individuals and businesses impacted by the bushfires are not required to pay tax on any relief and recovery payments or benefits provided by the Australian Government in relation to the 2019-20 bushfires.

Financial advice

The Rural Financial Counselling Service can provide free, confidential financial counselling to small rural businesses, who are suffering financial hardship.

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

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.