Updated: May 2011
Help is available for businesses affected by recent natural disasters in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia through a range of government assistance programs.
Below is a comprehensive list of state and federal emergency relief and assistance programs available to small business. The page will be kept up-to-date with the latest information and assistance. Revisit this list frequently to keep informed on changes and new assistance programs available to your business.
Grants, loans & subsidies
Check the information below to see which grants, loans and subsidies may apply to your business.
The Disaster Assist website provides recovery assistance information, including the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) and the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) for eligible people in disaster-declared areas. Administered by the Attorney General’s Department (NDRRA) and Centrelink (AGDRP).
People in flood-affected areas of QLD and NSW should note that two Australian Government Mobile Service Centres have been dispatched to provide access to Centrelink services, including advice on the subsidy and the AGDRP. Find out which regions it will visit by going to the Centrelink website.
Small Businesses operating in areas outside of hand-held mobile phone coverage, including those that aren’t flood affected, can apply for the Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme . A subsidy of up to $1 000 may be granted. Administered by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
New South Wales
Eligible small businesses and primary producers in NSW can apply for concessional loans of up to $130 000 through the Rural Assistance Authority’s Natural Disaster Relief Scheme . You can call the Authority for further information on 1800 678 593. Administered by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority.
Primary producers may also be eligible for transport subsidies of 50% through the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services (DTIRIS). For information on the subsidy, call 1800 814 647. Administered by the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services (DTIRIS).
If your business vehicle has been written off due to flood waters, you may be eligible for a stamp duty refund on your replacement vehicle. More information can be found on the NSW Office of State Revenue website.
Grants of up to $25 000 are available to assist small businesses and primary producers with clean up and recovery efforts.
Concessional loans of up to $250 000 are available under NDRRA for small businesses and primary producers, as well as freight subsidies of up to $5 000 for primary producers.
Small businesses and primary producers in the Cassowary Coast, Hinchinbrook and parts of the Tablelands area affected by ex-Tropical Cyclone Yasi may also be eligible for exceptional circumstance assistance. This includes a concessional loan of up to $650 000, with a grant component of up to $50 000. Visit the QRAA website or call 1800 623 946 to apply.
Mobile offices are touring flood-affected areas to provide primary producers and small business owners information about grants and other available assistance. Flood assistance seminars are also being held throughout South East QLD from Monday 24 January to Friday 28 January to help provide advice and support. For more information on the seminars, or to find out if a mobile office will be in your region, visit the Business Queensland website.
Financial counselling services are available to primary producers through the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries .
See Federal initiatives for flood recovery options.
Clean-up and restoration grants of up to $25 000 are available to eligible small businesses, primary producers, charities and not-for-profit organisations affected by heavy rainfall and floods on 12 to 14January 2011. Administered by the TAS Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.
Disaster recovery payments are available to assist small business owners, employees and farmers who have lost income due to extreme weather. Administered by Centrelink.
Clean up and restoration grants of up to $25 000 are available to eligible primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations. Administered by the Victoria Department of Human Services.
Low interest loans are available to small businesses; allowing operations to continue during difficult circumstances. Administered by the Victoria Department of Human Services.
Victorian small businesses indirectly impacted through loss of income may be eligible for the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) Business Relief Fund . Eligible businesses must submit their application before 31 May 2011.
Businesses affected by the floods can get hlep from a panel of business advisors at no cost through Business Victoria .
Financial counselling services are available through the Rural Financial Counselling Service . Counsellors can visit farms or businesses to provide free financial counselling and help you get back on your feet.
Businesses and primary producers affected by a 'declared' event can apply for an Interest Rate Subsidy (IRS) for new loans provided by Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs). The funds can be used to repair damage caused by an eligible natural disaster event, and/or for business carry on costs relating to the disaster.
Primary producers can apply for a Primary Producers Recovery Grant (PDF, 0.04MB) of up to $25 000 to help cover costs associated with clean-up and restoration due to flooding. A $3 million growers fund has been set up in addition to this by the WA State Government to help growers in the Carnarvon region return to production.
Further assistance (PDF, 0.04MB) is also available to help primary producers affected by recent bushfires, flooding or cyclones to access professional advice, reduced freight costs, fencing and loans.
The Dry Season Assistance Scheme provides professional service subsidies of up to $1 500 to eligible small businesses affected by ongoing dry conditions in 100 regions across the state.
Tax & finance assistance
Check the information below to see what assistance is being offered to help you with your tax and other finances.
The Victorian Government has released a fact sheet for Dealing with financial matters . It provides advice for all businesses when considering the broader range of financial issues in the coming weeks.
The Australian Government has announced that businesses receiving clean-up and recovery grants for recent flooding will not be liable to pay tax on the grant amount. This also applies to the Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy.
NSW, QLD, VIC, WA
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is allowing flood affected businesses in NSW, QLD, VIC and WA to defer their tax payments and have refunds fast-tracked as well as offering additional services to businesses in need. An extension to lodge December monthly Activity Statements is available, with the due date of 21 January 2011 changed to 21 February 2011. To find out if your business is eligible, visit the ATO website or call their dedicated emergency support info line on 1800 806 218.
A number of banks in Queensland have implemented packages of relief for affected customers. Visit the Financial Ombudsman Service website to read a summary of the relief available.
Help for employers
Employers can use the information below to see what information is available for dealing with staff.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has released a guide for flood-affected employers containing practical advice and information about work entitlements.
Employers of temporary visa holders concerned about the possible impacts of the flood on their business and overseas workers should contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on 13 18 81.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) has set up a clean-up hotline for employers needing advice on how to keep their workers safe throughout the recovery period. The hotline operates seven days a week from 7am to 7pm, providing information on a range of health and safety matters including how to deal with hazardous waste. You can contact the hotline on 1800 177 717.
Use the information below to find out what to do when making an insurance claim.
Businesses and individuals seeking information on natural disaster insurance and advice for making a claim should visit the MoneySmart website.
Legal Aid Queensland provides the When disaster strikes - cyclones, storms and floods: A guide to getting your insurance claim paid factsheet to help you with claiming insurance after a natural disaster.
Read the Insurance Council of Australia's making an insurance claim page.
You can call the Financial Ombudsman Service's Floods Hotline on 1800 337 444 if you need help and information on financial hardship, insurance claims and other financial issues experienced as a result of the floods.
Legal assistance after a disaster can be valuable to your business, particularly if you are making insurance claims. See what help might be available to your business be checking the information below.
The Queensland State Government and key legal organisations have joined to provide free legal information and preliminary advice to Queenslanders affected by flooding. If you're submitting an insurance claim on behalf of your business, are a franchisor or franchisee, or have legal questions regarding the employment of staff, visit the Flood legal help website or call 1300 65 11 88 for more information.
Use the information below to find out what business mentoring services are now available to flood-affected businesses.
The Small Business Advisory Service (SBAS) program offers low cost advisory services and mentoring to small businesses through 36 Business Enterprise Centres across Australia. Flood-affected businesses can search for an SBAS advisor on Advisor Finder.
Flood-affected businesses in Victoria can access business mentoring from the Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS).
Business owners looking for hardship counselling can utilise the services in the table below.
Lifeline Australia provides free, confidential and anonymous, 24-hour telephone counselling for business owners needing emotional support. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website .
beyondblue has a range of information and resources associated with depression and anxiety, and provides callers with a referral to relevant services. You can call beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or visit their website .
AusIndustry & Enterprise Connect customers
Important information for AusIndustry and Enterprise Connect customers in disaster-affected areas.
If you're an AusIndustry customer and are experiencing difficulties with your project or contract as a result of the current flood events, contact your case manager to find out what support may be available for you or contact the AusIndustry Hotline on 13 28 46.
Enterprise Connect customers who are affected by major disasters in Australia are encouraged to contact Enterprise Connect on 131 791 regarding any difficulties being experienced with regard to their Business Reviews, Tailored Advisory Services or Deeds of Grant.
The Bureau of Meteorology has up-to-date information and warnings on weather events in your state or territory. Find out if your business may be affected by extreme weather by visiting the Bureau’s website .
More help for business owners
Find additional business services from the information below.
The Small Business Support Line is available for business owners wanting business information or referral services. The Support Line also provides hardship counselling as part of its service to the business community. You can call the Support Line on 1800 77 7275, or use our Live Chat service.
Enterprise Connect Business Advisors/Facilitators are available to answer enquiries about business recovery and can be contacted through 131 791 or (07) 3114 3021.
Download a copy of the Cleaning up after flooding (PDF, 0.24MB) booklet available from the Australian Red Cross.
NSW, QLD, SA, VIC, WA
The Australian Passport Office is replacing any current Australian passport lost or damaged due to ex-Tropical Cyclone Yasi and recent flooding in NSW, QLD, SA, VIC and WA free of charge. Visit the Australian Passport Office website or call the Australian Passport Information Service on 13 12 32 to see if you are eligible.
IP Australia can provide extensions of time, waive fees related to requests for extensions of time, and waive fees associated with the supply of replacement documentation such as deeds and certificates where appropriate. Contact the IP Australia Customer Service Centre on 1300 651 010 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
If you're considering closing your business as a result of significant damage or loss, you can receive free assistance from an insolvency professional, courtesy of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). For further information, call ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.
Receive help from ASIC with late fees and lost records.
The QLD Office of Fair Trading is offering free replacements to businesses with lost or damaged licence certificates, identification cards or business name certificates, as well as waiving late fees for those with renewals due in December 2010, January 2011 or February 2011.
Find out what health precautions you should take when dealing with floods and other disasters on the Queensland Health website.
Find out what other assistance, support services and advice is available for primary producers and small businesses from the Queensland Government's business website.
For information on storms or floods that may affect your business, call the Victorian storm and flood information line on 1300 842 737.
If you're having difficulty renewing your business name or license due to the floods, contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 to see if you're eligible for a time extension on your fee payments. You may also be able to request copies of documentation that have become lost or damaged.
Find out what advice is available for contractors.
A number of factsheets are available from the Queensland Building Services Australia website to assist contractors who may be undertaking rebuilding work.
QLD, VIC flood donations
Appeals have been launched to help those affected by severe flooding in Queensland and Victoria. To ensure that you don't fall victim to scammers and fake charities, we recommend that you check that the flood appeal is reputable.
Queensland floods: The Queensland Government's Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal has been set up to help Queenslanders affected by the recent floods. You can show your support by donating online, by phone, by mail and in person.
Victoria floods: The Australian Red Cross has established the Victoria Floods Appeal to help devastated communities across Victoria recover. Funds raised will be used to support individuals, families and communities in affected areas.
As all funds will be collected and managed by The Australian Red Cross, these appeals have deductible gift recipient (DGR) status. All donations of $2 or more are therefore tax deductible. For more information on DGR status, visit the ABN Lookup website.