Bushfire recovery grants expand eligibility, timeline

Bushfire recovery grants expand eligibility, timeline

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ELIGIBILITY standards have been expanded to assist primary producers impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires to access up to $75,000 in disaster recovery grants

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ELIGIBILITY standards have been expanded to assist primary producers impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires to access up to $75,000 in disaster recovery grants, with small businesses also given more time to request support.

Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the changes would increase grant eligibility for primary producers as well as increase the time they have to apply for assistance.

"These changes and the decision to extend the application timeframes to December 2020 recognises that some primary producers have experienced drought, bushfires and now COVID-19, and need more time to make a claim," he said.

"We have also extended the timeframes for other small business bushfire recovery grants and loans.

"This decision also highlights the level of understanding by federal and state agencies that the recovery journey is different for everyone and some may not be as progressed on their journey as others."

Key eligibility changes include the removal of the off-farm income threshold in cases where an applicants income from primary production is less than 50 per cent of their total income; allowing extra time for applicants to reach the 50pc income threshold, given some sectors require a long lead time to reach full production; the removal of the requirement for applicants to be registered for GST - but they most still hold an ABN; businesses earning more than 50pc of their income from a combination of primary production and goods made directly from that produce will now be eligible for assistance.

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SA Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister David Basham said these changes to recovery grants were very welcome to SA's fire-impacted primary producers and small businesses.

"Our communities are incredibly resilient, but our primary producers and small businesses hit by last summer's fires have been hit again by COVID-19, and some people just haven't had the chance to consider all their assistance options," he said.

"Our local recovery teams have been working closely with impacted primary producers and small businesses, and will continue to support them for as long as it takes.

"This includes assistance with navigating the many options available for financial and other support.

"We urge fire-impacted primary producers and small businesses to contact their local recovery personnel to discuss what's available, especially now with these grant adjustments announced today."

The primary producers grant provides support to farmers and other primary production businesses in fire affected areas with the costs of clean-up and other emergency measures including disposing of stock and waste, and rebuilding or replacing damaged or destroyed on-farm infrastructure.

The changes will come into effect shortly.

Applicants who were previously unsuccessful and may now be eligible will not need to reapply - agencies administering the grants will contact these applicants.

Applications for small business assistance in the form of $10,000 and $50,000 grants and concessional loans of up to $500,000 can also be made up to December 31.

Primary producers and small business operators in fire-affected areas who have not been in touch with support agencies are encouraged to not self-assess, but to speak to a support officer.

  • Details: Call the PIRSA Recovery Hotline on 1800 93 13 14. Call the Small Business Unit on 08 8429 3801. Further details are available here

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