Updates: Rural Financial Counselling Service
On 27 April 2013, the Australian Government announced Farm Finance , which includes an additional $5.6 million for the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) program for the 2013–14 and 2014–15 financial years.
This funding will provide for approximately 16 additional full–time rural financial counsellors. The new counsellors will be focused on regions and industries experiencing acute debt stress and where recent natural disasters have had a heavy impact on farm businesses. The additional counsellors will be initially placed in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.
Locations of these new rural financial counselling positions will be provided on this website as positions are filled. A number of positions will be filled by ‘mobile’ rural financial counsellors; these counsellors will be placed in various locations over time, depending on where need is the greatest.
Information on locations of rural financial counsellors can also be obtained by calling 1800 686 175 (toll free) or by emailing the RFCS .
Small Business Advisory Services - Queensland Natural Disaster Assistance
On 28 February 2013, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Minister for Small Business, Chris Bowen jointly announced a new competitive, merit based Small Business Advisory Services program funding round; the Queensland Natural Disaster Assistance (QNDA). Successful QNDA applicants will provide high quality, low cost advisory services and targeted towards improving management capability, business skills and/or financial management skills of small business in Queensland that are affected directly or indirectly by ex- tropical cyclone Oswald (and associated rainfall and flooding).
The QNDA round opened for applicants from potential providers on Thursday 14 March 2013; applications closed at 5pm AEST Wednesday 10 April 2013.
Visit the AusIndustry website for more information on the Small Business Advisory Services program.
Additional Government assistance is available for businesses affected by a natural disaster. Below is a 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 page frequently to keep informed on changes and new assistance programs available to your business.
For more information please contact the Small Business Support Line on 1800 777 275.
- The Small Business Support Line is a call centre operated by a team of agents who all have extensive experience in the small business sector. It is a first point of contact to access information and referral services for small businesses.
- It is available between 8am and 8pm Australian eastern standard time on 1800 77 7275, and includes an online Live Chat service during the same hours, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Small Business Support Line can also assist by giving advice on up-to-date Australian Government and state and territory government support for business affected by current natural disasters. The level of assistance available may vary depending on the severity of each disaster and the area where you are located.
- It provides information on all sorts of small business services including access to advice and support, including financial and personal counselling services, and area specific referrals.
The joint Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) provides urgent financial assistance to disaster affected communities. This assistance is delivered through state and territory agencies. Under these arrangements, the State or Territory Government determines the appropriate assistance measures that may be provided to individuals, communities, small businesses and primary producers.
Information on the Local Government Areas eligible for NDRRA assistance and the types of assistance that are available can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website .
Please check the Disaster Assist website regularly, as it will be continually updated as disaster events unfold and more information is available.
Visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website for information on the support provided by the ATO to businesses affected by natural disaster. This includes automatic deferral of certain taxation obligations for businesses that are located in specified postcodes affected by natural disaster.
Information on Tasmania’s bushfire recovery effort, including financial assistance being provided, is available on Tasmania’s Bushfire Recovery website .
The following assistance is available under the NDRRA:
- Bushfire Recovery - Clean-Up and Assistance Grants are available to eligible small businesses for clean-up, removal of debris and further restoration following the January bushfires. Grants are available to eligible small businesses, not-for-profit organisations and primary producers located in the Local Government Areas of Sorell, Tasman and Glamorgan Spring Bay – where the impact has been particularly severe.
- Interest-free loans of up to $500,000 are available to eligible businesses directly affected by the bushfires in January through the new ‘Bushfire Recovery Loan Program’. Loans of between $50,000 and $500,000 are available to help businesses cover costs such as repairing and replacing damaged plant and equipment, buildings or other infrastructure, as well as assisting with rent and rates. Businesses wishing to apply for the loans can contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or email email@example.com
New South Wales
The following assistance is available under the NDRRA:
- A standard suite of assistance is available to individuals and households, farmers, small business owners, councils and non-profit organisations that have been directly affected by the recent flooding and bushfires, subject to eligibility criteria. Details of all the NDRRA assistance measures available can be found at the New South Wales Ministry for Police and Emergency Services website .
- Clean-up and recovery grants of up to $15,000 are available for eligible primary producers in areas severely affected by bushfires and flooding that occurred in NSW during January and February. These grants can be used to cover the costs associated with cleaning and restoration activities.
- Concessional loans of up to $130,000 are available for eligible small business and primary producers directly affected by the recent flooding and bushfires.
- Eligible small businesses and primary producers in NSW can apply for the assistance outlined above through the Rural Assistance Authority’s Natural Disaster Relief Scheme .
The following assistance is available under the NDRRA:
- Clean-up and recovery grants of up to $25,000 are available to eligible small businesses severely impacted by Tropical Cyclone Oswald and associated rainfall and flooding. These grants can be used to cover the costs associated with cleaning and restoration activities.
- Clean-up and recovery grants of up to $25,000 are available to eligible primary producers severely impacted by Tropical Cyclone Oswald and associated rainfall and flooding. These grants can be used to cover the costs associated with cleaning and restoration activities.
- Concessional loans of up $250,000 are available to eligible small businesses directly impacted by Tropical Cyclone Oswald and associated rainfall and flooding, who are unable to provide for their own recovery. The loans can be used for a range of activities including repairing or replacing damaged plant and equipment, repairing or replacing buildings, purchasing livestock to replace those lost in the disaster event, supplying and replacing stock and meeting carry-on requirements.
- Concessional loans of up $250,000 are available to eligible primary producers directly impacted by either the recent bushfires or Tropical Cyclone Oswald and associated rainfall and flooding, who are unable to provide for their own recovery. The loans can be used for a range of activities including repairing or replacing damaged plant and equipment, repairing or replacing buildings, purchasing livestock to replace those lost in the disaster event and supplying and replacing stock and meeting carry-on requirements.
- Exceptional Disaster Assistance- Assistance of concessional interest free loans of up to $650,000 and grants up to $50,000 are available to small businesses that have suffered direct and extreme damage from Tropical Cyclone Oswald and associated rainfall and flooding. If your small business has suffered extreme damage and the assistance available under the Special Disaster Asssitance Scheme (grants up to $25,000) and Natural Disaster Assistance Scheme (loan up to $250,000) is inadequate to meet your recovery needs, you may be elibgible for assistance under the Exceptional Disaster Assistance Scheme.
- Exceptional Disaster Assistance- Assistance of concessional interest free loans of up to $650,000 and grants up to $50,000 are available to primary producers that have suffered direct and extreme damage from Tropical Cyclone Oswald and associalted rainfall and flooding. If your enterprise has suffered extreme damage and the assistance available under the Special Disaster Asssitance Scheme (grants up to $25,000) and Natural Disaster Assistance Scheme (loan up to $250,000) is inadequate to meet your recovery needs, you may be elibgible for assistance under the Exceptional Disaster Assistance Scheme.
- Freight subsidies of up to $5,000 are available to eligible primary producers directly impacted by either the recent bushfires or Tropical Cyclone Oswald and associated rainfall and flooding. This assistance can be used for the movement of feed, building/fencing materials, stock, fodder, water, machinery/equipment and fuels (50% subsidy). Freight subsidies in Queensland are administered by the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry.
Visit the Queensland Disaster Management website for further information on disasters in Queensland and available assistance.
The Queensland Government's Business and Industry Portal is a comprehensive resource to help your business recover from a natural disaster. It includes up-to-date information and links for small businesses and primary producers.
Under the NDRRA, concessional loans of up to $200,000 are available to eligible primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations directly affected by recent bushfires.
The Rural Finance Corporation is the organisation that administers disaster assistance in Victoria. Information on eligibility and assistance measures can be found on their website.
The Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services website provides information on natural disaster declarations and available assistance.
Under the NDRRA, interest rate subsides are available to eligible primary producers and small businesses directly impacted by recent severe weather, flooding and cyclones.
The South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission website provides links to emergency services information and available assistance.
The Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services website lists assistance services and posts warnings and updates on emergencies.
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory Emergency Services website lists assistance services and posts warnings and updates on emergencies.
Lifeline Australia and beyondblue provide hardship counselling services for business owners who have been affect by a natural disaster.
Visit our Grants & Assistance Finder for government related grants for businesses affected by natural disaster.
Visit our Emergency management template and guide to create a plan in case your business is affected by an emergency or natural disaster. If you own an iPad, download our free MyBizShield application to be guided through creating your emergency management & recovery plan.
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. Alternatively you can 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 of Meteorology website.
Find out about warnings in your area...
- ACT Emergency Services Agency
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- NT Rural Fire Service
- QLD Rural Fire Service
- SA Country Fire Service
- TAS Fire Service
- VIC Emergency information
- WA Fire Service
DisasterWatch Phone App
In 2011 the Attorney-General's Department released the free DisasterWatch phone app to improve access to disaster information on a mobile platform during natural disasters.
The DisasterWatch phone app provides publicly available news and information about disaster events in Australia via direct feeds from a range of authoritative sources in the States and Territories and nationally. The information will be regularly updated.
Please note: this app does not provide direct emergency alert warnings to users.
DisasterWatch is available from Google Play and from Apple-iTunes (search for DisasterWatch).
Last updated 1 May 2013