Scott Morrison Announces Government Help for Bushfire Victims
Love him or hate him, it has to be said: the raft of measures announced by PM Scott Morrison to support small businesses affected by the bushfires is working.
Willing to sacrifice a federal budget surplus, Morrison has pledged a $2 billion fire relief package. The package has made it easier for those who have suffered direct fire damage, or have been indirectly economically impacted following the bushfires, to get back on their feet. It includes grant funding, concessional loans, tax relief, a dedicated and single contact point to help them access the support that is available, and financial counselling services to help small and family business owners deal with the emotional and financial challenges they face.
The Federal Government will provide top-up grants to eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
This program is uncapped and means that businesses and organisations that have sustained damage as a result of the fires can access up to $50,000 in grant funding (tax free).
As well as extra support announced already for families and communities to help keep spending in local stores, the Federal Government wants to ensure small businesses have cashflow to run their operations.
The Federal Government will boost the value and concessions for small business loans, also on offer to farmers, primary producers and non-profit organisations, under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
To provide maximum flexibility for eligible businesses, loans of up to $500,000 will be offered for businesses that have suffered significant asset loss or a significant loss of revenue. The loan would be for up to 10 years and used for the purposes of restoring or replacing damaged assets and for working capital.
The loans will be available with a repayment holiday of up to two years, with no interest accruing during this period. The subsequent interest rate would be set at 50% of the ten-year Commonwealth government bond rate (currently around 0.6%).
A Small Business Bushfire Financial Support hotline has been established, as well as 10 additional financial counsellors with the ability to provide advice to around 100 small businesses a day. The Support Line provides information on the assistance and support available to small businesses in bushfire affected regions. Staffed by trained financial counsellors, the hotline will provide information on the assistance and support available to small businesses in bushfire affected regions.
Phone 13 28 46
Local Economic Development Plans
The Federal Government is working with local and state governments, business groups and community organisations to develop Local Economic Recovery Plans. The plans will be locally-led to ensure the focus in each community is on the infrastructure and assets they need to rebuild.
The Commissioner of Taxation is providing a range of measures to businesses in identified bushfire-impacted postcodes to help alleviate cash flow pressures and assist these businesses with their recovery efforts.
Taxpayers in impacted postcodes will now have until 28 May 2020 to lodge and pay business activity statements and income tax returns. Impacted businesses that pay their Pay-As-You-Go Instalments quarterly are also allowed to vary these instalments to zero for the December 2019 quarter and claim a refund for any instalments made in the September 2019 quarter.
For more information on the help available, check out these websites: