As of next week, small businesses across the Mid Coast and Port Macquarie – Hastings council areas who were significantly affected by the 2019-20 bushfire crisis will have easy access to new disaster recovery funding.

Federal Nationals Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said grants worth $10,000 will be available to small businesses as part of a package announced by the Australian Government.

“I know communities have been frustrated when applying for grants and loans, and we are committed to making the recovery process as quick and easy as possible,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Small businesses are the backbone of regional economies, and it is critical we make available assistance that can help them.”

To access the $10,000 grant, a small business must have suffered a 40 per cent drop in revenue over a three-month period, compared to the previous year, as a result of the bushfires.

The new assistance program will be available to a greater range of businesses, including those impacted indirectly by road closures, evacuations, or tourism leave orders.

In addition, small businesses who operate regularly within a fire-affected area, but are based outside that area, like farm suppliers can apply.

“It will be up to individual business owners to determine what they spend the money on,” Dr Gillespie said.

“For example, they may direct the funds to covering the costs of utilities, salaries, rent, and/or financial advice. The total cost of this measure will depend on demand.”

In addition to the new grants, existing eligibility requirements for grants up to $50,000 and concessional loans up to $500,000 will be relaxed and simplified.

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency is working with its state partners to remove barriers and come up with tangible solutions that have the most value to those impacted.

Further details are available on the National Bushfire Recovery Agency website at www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/recovery-assistance/small-business.