Bathurst MP and Deputy Nationals Leader Paul Toole has welcomed $10,000 small business bushfire grants for additional local government areas.

The much-needed support has been extended to an additional 13 LGAs which have suffered hardship as a result of the recent bushfires.

Mr Toole said that thanks to the advocacy efforts of the local community, small businesses will now have access to much-needed funding.

“I know that to keep our region going, we need to support our small businesses wherever we can,” Mr Toole said.

“Small businesses in these regions have been affected by drought, bushfires and now the COVID-19 crisis. Every dollar of government support makes a difference and works to keep locals in jobs.”

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the NSW Nationals in Government continued to back regional small businesses and expanding this funding to additional LGAs is doing just that.

“Many regional businesses that rely on tourism lost their peak summer season due to the bushfires and then lost Easter trade due to COVID-19,” Mr Barilaro said.

“It is fantastic to see more than 12,500 businesses have taken up the grant offer so far which equates to $125.4 million.

“With the expansion of the grants to more LGAs we will see more money in the pockets of those who need it most.”

The grants are now being extended to 13 more LGAs, taking the total to 30. The 13 new LGAs are jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments and include: Armidale, Bellingen, Cessnock, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Goulburn Mulwaree, Greater Hume, Kyogle, Mid Western, Oberon, Singleton, Tenterfield and Walcha.

Initially, the grants covered the following LGAs: Bega Valley, Blue Mountains, Clarence Valley, Eurobodalla, Hawkesbury, Kempsey, Lithgow, Mid Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie, Queanbeyan, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

To be eligible, businesses must have experienced a 40 percent drop in revenue over a three-month period, compared to last year, because of the bushfires.
The criteria for the additional 13 LGAs is:
• Greater than 4 per cent of LGA burnt.
• Greater than 4 buildings damaged or destroyed.

Grants of up to $50,000 are also available for eligible small businesses directly impacted by the bushfires. Businesses that have received financial assistance via other grants may still be eligible for the $10,000 grants.