This page provides information and support for Australian businesses who have been affected by the recent bushfires.

We’ll be updating this information as government announcements are made and other resources are available, so keep checking in.

If you think we're missing relevant government information, please let us know. We want businesses to have as much information and support as possible and your feedback will help us to improve this page.

Latest update – 24 January 2020

Small Business Bushfire Recovery Package

Fact sheets are now available on the Bushfire Recovery Agency website for:

  • recovery grants of up to $50,000 for eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations
  • concessional loans of up to $500,000 for eligible small businesses (including primary producers) and non-profit organisations

You can email us to register your details for updates on these grants and loans. We'll get back to you within 1 business day.

Government financial help


Urgent financial assistance from the government is available to bushfire-affected communities. 

You can find information on the types of assistance available on the Disaster Assist website. Check the website regularly – it is updated as disasters unfold.

You can also contact your state or territory for more information:

Business grants and programs

You may be eligible for other grants and assistance programs to help your business recover from the bushfires.

Support for existing program participants


If you are an existing grantee and have been impacted by the bushfires, you may be eligible to seek additional time to meet your reporting obligations or to complete your project.

Please contact your Customer Service Manager or one of the agents at our Contact Centre to discuss how we can assist.

If you are an existing claimant of the R&D Tax Incentive and have been impacted by the bushfires, please contact your case manager to discuss how we may be able to assist with your R&D Tax Incentive claims.

Contact us

Our Contact Centre agents can provide support and information to businesses impacted by the bushfires. We're available from 8am to 8pm across Australia, Monday to Friday.

  • Call – Talk directly with one of our agents on 13 28 46
  • Web Chat – Chat directly with one of our agents in real time
    • it's located in the bottom right hand corner across all pages
    • requires pop-ups to be enabled on your device
  • Email – You can email us at any time through our online form. We'll get back to you within 1 business day.

National, state and territory emergency information


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Support for primary producers


If your rural business has been affected by the bushfires, the FarmHub website has helpful information including

  • livestock services
  • animal biosecurity management
  • available assistance and support

Employer responsibilities


Workplace health and safety

As an employer, you have an obligation to protect the health and safety of your staff while they’re at work. 

You can't ask your employees to start or continue to work during severe weather if it's unreasonable or unsafe. If your business is in an area affected by reduced air quality, you must have measures in place to protect your staff. 

If you must work, get specific advice from your local workplace health and safety organisation.

Pay and your employees

If you need to close your business or stand down your employees, you don't have to pay them unless your industry’s award or agreement says you do.

If you employ ADF Reservists

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is providing support in response to the bushfire. If you employ an ADF Reservist who is called out for Operation Bushfire Assist, you must:

  • release them for service (unless you get an exemption)
  • not expect them to take leave for their service

To compensate you for their absence, you may be entitled to Employer Support Payments.

Help with your finances


If you're struggling financially after the bushfires, you can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 to speak to a free financial counsellor.

For more information on financial counselling services (including support for businesses in the primary industries), check the MoneySmart website.

Small business financial support line

A financial support line is being set up to support businesses affected by the bushfires. As always, you can contact us on 13 28 46 for assistance while the support line is being established.

Paying bills

If you're having trouble paying bills, such as your energy bill or bank payments, you should contact your retailer. Some organisations are offering help including freezes on bills and payment extensions.

Insurance claims


If you need to make a claim on your small business or other insurance policy, the first step is to contact your insurer.

Telecommunications


If your business has lost connection, you can make free payphone calls and access free Wi-Fi in some locations.

Some telcos are offering extra support for affected customers, such as free call diversions and credit to help with connection costs – check with your provider to find out how they can help.

Tax support


The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is providing support to businesses impacted by the fires, such as giving extra time to pay or lodge tax forms and fast tracking any refunds owing to you.

If you've been impacted by the bushfires, your business now has until 28 May 2020 to lodge, and make any payments for, your business activity statements and income tax returns.

Company fees


If you are facing financial hardship due to the bushfires, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) can help you with payment arrangements for your company fees.

Mental health and wellbeing support


If your business has been severely impacted by the bushfires, it is critical to give yourself the emotional support you need to process your circumstances. If you're looking for mental health support, your General Practitioner can refer you to appropriate services in your area.

Donation scams


There are currently a wide range of appeals raising funds for people and animals affected by the bushfires. Unfortunately, some of these are scams.