Has your business been affected by bushfires?

Has your business been affected by bushfires?

The devastating Australian bushfires have not only affected individuals, families and wildlife, they have also had a damaging effect on small businesses. If your business has been affected by bushfires, where can you turn for help during your recovery? 

Government actions that help SMEs recover from bushfires

On January 20th, the Federal government announced a range of measures that will provide immediate relief for small businesses affected by the recent bushfires, as follows. 

Tax free grants: Under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and to enhance the disaster recovery grants provided by state governments, SMEs can access top-up grants of up to $50,000 tax free.

Concessional small business loans: To ensure cashflow for small businesses, the government will offer 10 year loans of up to $500,000 to businesses that have suffered significant loss of assets or revenue due to the bushfires. This money will be used to restore or replace assets and be used for cashflow purposes. An interest free period of two years will also be established, followed by interest rates for the life of the loan set at 50% of the 10-year government bond rate. 

Trained financial councillors: Supported by a $3.5 million fund, a financial support line will be set up for small businesses affected by the bushfires. This money will pay for 10 financial councillors who will provide advice on how to access financial support to around 100 businesses per day. The government will also provide support to state recovery centres in fire impacted areas to provide the same information to small businesses.

Tax relief measures: Another strategy to help small businesses increase their cash flow is they will have until 28 May 2020 to lodge and pay their BAS and tax. In addition, PAYG instalments for the September 2019 quarter can be reclaimed and those for the December 2019 quarter can be set to zero. This will give return some much needed cash to these businesses. 

For information on gaining financial assistance for your small business, check out the government website here: https://www.business.gov.au/news/bushfire-support

 How can SMEs speed up this recovery process?

To access any of these disaster recovery services, loans and grants, your business must be eligible. You can check this eligibility on the Government Bushfire Support website, where they provide links for businesses in NSW, SA, VIC and QLD. 

Preparation is also key to a speedy resolution to your financial problems due to the bushfires. For example, you can access checklists to prepare your business for the bushfire season that are applicable regardless of state and discover the at-risk status of your suburb in NSWQLD and VIC.  

You can also talk to your bank about accessing term deposits early, increasing credit limits, restructuring existing loans or deferring payments. Don’t forget that if you have, Property Insurance or Business Interruption Insurance, Plant & Equipment, Motor vehicle Insurance it’s time to contact your provider who will help you through the claims process. 

Whilst the devastation caused by bushfires is out of your control, thankfully there is a range of government relief and support that can speed up the recovery of your business. Along with preparing your business for the bushfire season and having the right insurances in place, your business should be well positioned to recover from the effects of bushfires this season.

To decide what type of insurance may be suitable for your business, talk to an insurance specialist today.  


General Advice Warning

The information provided is to be regarded as general advice. Whilst we may have collected risk information, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. We recommend that you consider the suitability of this general advice, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase this financial product.

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