Relief & Recovery

Information for business owners

A number of government grants and other support services are available to assist businesses affected by the bushfires. Small business advisers are also located at each of the recovery centres to provide ongoing advice and support.

A fact sheet summarising the support available to small business owners is available here. Small businesses are also encouraged to contact Bushfire Recovery Victoria on 1800 560 760 through the website via brv.vic.gov.au

 

Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grants

Grants of up to $50,000 are now available to eligible Victorian small businesses and non-profit organisations affected by the Victorian bushfires.

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).

To apply, visit the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry website. 

 

Concessional loans

Concessional loans of up to $500,000 are also available for eligible small businesses (including farmers, fishers and foresters) and non-profit organisations who have suffered significant asset loss or significant loss to 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 provided under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

For more information contact Bushfire Recovery Victoria on 1800 560 760.

 

Tax relief

The Government will provide payroll tax relief, cut stamp duty, waive water rates and give local councils extra support as part of a major package to help fire-affected communities recover.

The funding provides for:

  • Immediate regional payroll tax relief in East Gippsland, Mansfield, Wellington, Wangaratta, Towon and Apline so that regional employers only pay 25 per cent of the metropolitan rate
  • A 50 per cent concession on stamp duty for eligible properties, allowing businesses to relocate, expand or move into the fire-affected areas
  • No 2020 land tax on properties destroyed or substantially damaged and tax relief will be considered for properties affected but not destroyed or substantially damaged
  • No 2020 land tax on properties used to provide free accommodation for those affected by bushfires for over six months, and tax relief for properties used for between one and six months
  • Waiving water rates for 12 months for all homes or businesses destroyed or significantly damaged by fire, and providing rebates for customers affected by interruptions to their water supply
  • Motor vehicle duty relief of up to $2100 when purchasing replacement vehicles, including farm vehicles
  • Waive administration fees associated with VicRoads registration refunds for vehicles that have been damaged or destroyed, saving owners up to $60
  • Waive associated costs and fast-track requests for birth and wedding certificates destroyed by the bushfires

The Government will also establish a $10 million Council Assistance Fund, administered by Bushfire Recovery Victoria, for local governments in State of Disaster areas to access funding for people who have damaged or destroyed property, support businesses subject to annual charges or permits, or to waive other fees or charges. 

Eligible councils will be able to determine how best to allocate their funding, which may include rate relief for residents and businesses if they choose.

Additional support for businesses includes $500,000 grants to regional industry groups and chambers of commerce to facilitate vital networking events, tourism opportunities and pro-bono business partnerships, small business advisers available at all recovery centres and support for the wine industry to access technical advice so it’s best placed for this years’ vintage.

 

Advice and Information

The following organisations can provide information on support available to affected businesses:

  • Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) -  in the case of natural disaster, ASIC can review late lodgement and late payment fees incurred as a result of matters outside your control and waive them in some circumstances. 
  • Australian Tax Office (ATO) - Dealing with disasters – an ATO portal linking to information regarding ways that individuals and businesses can manage tax obligations following a disaster.
  • Major banks - Most major and some smaller banks provide assistance to address short term financial difficulties arising as a result of the impact of a disaster.

Further information resources:

  • Business Victoria website - An online resource to assist small businesses with information and details of support services.
  • Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) - VCCI provides information, business support and advice on workplace relations provisions for businesses and workers affected by natural disaster and emergencies and lost patronage.
  • Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) - Information on employment conditions during natural disaster and emergencies, including what happens if a business has to close temporarily and information about taking sick, carer or community service leave.
  • CPA Australia - Disaster Recovery Toolkit – provides advice and a series of checklists for businesses impacted by disaster.
  • Disaster Assist - Commonwealth - Commonwealth government site that provides up-to-date public information messages, relevant free call numbers, information on Australian Government assistance packages and links to other relevant websites.
  • MoneySmart - Free, independent guidance to assist individuals to make the most of their money. Includes advice on ‘Storms, Fires and Floods’ and ‘Urgent Money Help.’
  • Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) - Free, independent financial advice and support for farming families and small rural businesses.
  • Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) - Professional mentoring support for small businesses. This service is often funded by Government following a disaster, but government subsidised mentoring is available at any time for a fee.
  • Tourism industry resources - Crisis Resources – provides a series of downloadable resources to assist businesses and local and regional tourism organisations to plan for, respond to, and recover from crisis events.
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