The Federal Government has finally announced support for small businesses struggling with the impact of the bushfires, with grants of up to $50,000 and low-interest loans of up to $500,000 to be made available.
Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP has been calling on the government to provide a cash injection to local businesses and welcomed today’s announcement, but questioned why the announcement took so long.
The Gilmore MP is also concerned that the eligibility criteria is too vague. The Morrison Government needs to come clean on which small businesses will be eligible and start rolling out much needed assistance in bushfire affected areas immediately.
“I have met with so many businesses across the South Coast who are telling me they are facing closure if they don’t get help now,” Fiona Phillips said.
“We are facing an economic disaster, so I want to see the eligibility criteria for these new grants and I want to ensure that cash starts flowing through to businesses in need as soon as possible,”
The bushfires have had wide ranging impact, including in areas that were not directly impacted by fire. Many local businesses rely on the summer season to get them through the rest of the year, but that season has been completely decimated.
The government’s response to the bushfires has been too slow, with the assistance available proving to be inappropriate for an economy built around the tourist season. Many people attempting to access the support for individuals have been told they are not eligible.
“We have seen a complete debacle with the Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance, with eligibility criteria that simply is not appropriate and people who should be eligible being turned away,”
“We cannot risk the same thing happening with these grants,”