Primary producers impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires will benefit from expanded eligibility for the $75,000 recovery grant and timeframe changes announced by the NSW Nationals in the state government, with small businesses also given more time to request support.
NSW Nationals Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the $75,000 Special Disaster Grant, which was scheduled to close at the end of the month, will now be available until December 15, 2020.
“This program has been critical in keeping farmers on the land and importantly stimulating local regional economies, which is why it’s important every eligible farmer makes the most it,” Mr Marshall said.
“2020 has been a tough year for our farmers, but extending this program is just one thing we can do to take the pressure off and make their lives that little bit easier.
“This grant has been incredibly successful, with more than 1500 farmers across the State receiving close to $100 million to help cover the costs of repairing and rebuilding infrastructure on their properties.”
Federal Nationals Deputy Leader and Agriculture Minister 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.
“We received feedback, we have listened and we have adjusted the approach. We are regularly talking with industry groups and the state governments to ensure our assistance is available to those most in need,” Mr Littleproud said.
“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.”
The primary producers grant provides support to farmers and other primary production businesses in fire affected areas with the costs of such services as safety inspections, veterinary fees, waste disposal, and purchases or repairs to property or equipment damaged in the fires.
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 December 15, 2020.
Primary producers and small business operators in fire-affected areas that have not been in touch with support agencies are encouraged to not self-assess and to speak to a support officer.
Further details are available at: https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/