Bushfire assistance: Special Disaster Loans for small businesses, non-profit organisations and primary producers

Bushfire assistance: Special Disaster Loans for small businesses, non-profit organisations and primary producers Main Image

Following the devastating bushfires on the NSW South Coast, the Australian Government has made available a range of financial assistance to help with clean up and recovery in the Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla. 

The Special Disaster Concessional Loan – Bushfires is providing support loans of up to $500,000 to small business owners, primary producers and non-profit organisations that have suffered significant damage to their assets and/or a significant loss of income as a direct result of the bushfires. Funding is available through two streams:

  • Bushfire Recovery - Replacement costs for restoring and/or replacing damaged assets.
  • Bushfire Working Capital – Essential expenses while the business returns to its normal level of trading.

Subject to the funding stream these loans will be subject to a repayment holiday for a period of up to two years, and loan holders will have three to eight years to make all repayments.

Eligibility

To be eligible, you must:

  • be a small business owner, primary production enterprise or a non-profit organisation
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) or be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
  • be located in the defined disaster area for the eligible disaster
  • have been engaged in carrying on the business, farming activity or be a non-profit organisation when affected by the disaster
  • be primarily responsible for meeting the costs claimed in the application
  • be intending to re-establish the business, non-profit organisation or farming activity within the same local government area
  • have suffered significant damage to assets as a direct result of the disaster, or have suffered significant loss of income as a direct result of the disaster
  • demonstrate that the business, primary production enterprise or non-profit organisation has reasonable prospects of long-term viability with the assistance provided
  • use the funds for the approved purpose only
  • indicate that they have no reasonable prospects of obtaining finance commercially to carry on the business, primary production enterprise or non-profit organisation and/or demonstrate that if the required assistance were obtained commercially, the business, primary production enterprise or non-profit organisation would be placed in financial difficulty
  • demonstrate that the business, primary production enterprise or non-profit organisation has the capacity to repay the loan
  • provide adequate security for the loan

You may also be eligible for a loan if both of the following apply:

  • the small business, primary production enterprise or non-profit organisation is located outside the defined disaster area for the eligible disaster but is operated at least sometimes on a regular basis in the area; and
  • plant or equipment of the small business owner, primary producer or non-profit organisation is situated in the defined disaster area and has been damaged as a result of the eligible disaster.

Where an applicant's income from primary production is less than 50% of their total income, the applicant may still be eligible for a loan if it can be demonstrated that:

  • in the ordinary course of business the applicant would meet that requirement, but:
    • their primary production income is currently reduced due to drought; and/or
    • due to long lead times to full production the applicant expects to earn such an amount of income within a three year period; and
  • the applicant's total off-farm income is less than $100,000 gross per annum (per person)

Eligible costs include:

  • repairing or replacing damaged plant and equipment
  • repairing or replacing buildings and fences
  • paying salaries or wages
  • paying rent, lease and rates

Applications

For further information about the subsidy or to apply, please refer to the guidelines, visit the website or call the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.

Applications close on 15 December 2020.

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.