Primary producers impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires will benefit from expanded eligibility for the $75,000 disaster recovery grant and timeframe changes announced today, with small businesses also given more time to request support.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said that the changes will increase grant eligibility for primary producers as well as increase the time they have to apply for assistance.
“These changes and the decision to extend the application timeframes to December 2020 recognises that some primary producers have experienced drought, bushfires and now COVID-19, and need more time to make a claim. We have also extended the timeframes for other small business bushfire recovery grants and loans.
“This decision also highlights the level of understanding by Federal and State agencies that the recovery journey is different for everyone and some may not be as progressed on their journey as others."
South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said that these changes to recovery grants are very welcome to South Australia's fire-impacted primary producers and small businesses.
“Our communities are incredibly resilient, but our primary producers and small businesses hit by last summer's fires have been hit again by COVID-19, and some people just haven't had the chance to consider all their assistance options," Minister Basham said.
“Our local recovery teams have been working closely with impacted primary producers and small businesses, and will continue to support them for as long as it takes. This includes assistance with navigating the many options available for financial and other support.
“We urge fire-impacted primary producers and small businesses to contact their local recovery personnel to discuss what's available, especially now with these grant adjustments announced today."
The primary producers grant provides support to farmers and other primary production businesses in fire affected areas with the costs of clean-up and other emergency measures including disposing of stock and waste, and rebuilding or replacing damaged or destroyed on-farm infrastructure.
Key eligibility changes include:
- Removal of the off-farm income threshold where an applicant's income from primary production is less than 50 per cent of their total income.
- Allowing extra time for applicants to reach the 50 per cent income threshold in recognition of long lead times required by some sectors to reach full production.
- Applicants are no longer required to be registered for GST but must still hold an ABN.
- Businesses earning more than 50 per cent of their income from a combination of primary production and goods made directly from that produce will now be eligible for assistance.
These changes will come into effect shortly. Applicants who were previously unsuccessful and may now be eligible will not need to reapply - agencies administering the grants will contact these applicants.
Applications for small business assistance in the form of $10,000 and $50,000 grants and concessional loans of up to $500,000 can now also be made up to 31 December 2020.
Primary producers and small business operators in fire-affected areas who have not been in touch with support agencies are encouraged to not self-assess, but to speak to a support officer:
Call the PIRSA Recovery Hotline on 1800 93 13 14.
Call the Small Business Unit on 8429 3801.
Further details are available at www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au.