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News & Media

Disaster Assistance - Support for small businesses affected by bushfires - 10 January 2020

Tue 07 Jan 2020

Practical support is available to all businesses affected by the NSW bushfires, from damaged or destroyed property to disrupted business and reduced income

A list of available services and bushfire assistance for Small Businesses can be found below:

  • Prime Minister of Australia - Immediate Small Business Support for Bushfire Affected Communities - Updated 20.01.2020
  • Small Business Commissioner - Support for small businesses affected by fire - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Small Business Commissioner - Small business impact survey - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Rural Assistance Authority - Declared Natural Disasters - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Department of Human Services - Disaster Recovery Allowance - Small Business - Updated 22.01.2020
  • Rural Assistance Authority - Disaster Recovery Grants - Small Business - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Rural Assistance Authority - Disaster Relief Loans - Small Business - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Rural Assistance Authority - Disaster Recovery Grant - Primary Producers - Updated 18.01.2020
  • Rural Assistance Authority - Disaster Relief Loans - Primary Producers - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Rural Assistance Authority - Natural Disaster Transport Subsidy - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Law Society of NSW - Legal Aid NSW - Updated 09.01.2020
  • Rural Assistance Authority - Disaster Relief Loans - Non-profit Organisations - Updated 07.01.2020
  • NSW Government - Business Connect - Updated 18.01.2020
  • Small Business Commissioner - Dispute Resolution Service - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Public Works Authority & Service NSW - Clean-Up Assistance - Updated 18.01.2020
  • Insurance Council of Australia - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Regional NSW Website - Updated 07.01.2020
  • Australian Taxation Office - Deferrals for activity statement lodgements and payments due - Updated 09.01.2020
  • Australian Red Cross - Emergency Grants - Australian Bushfire 2019/2020 - Updated 21.01.2020
  • RSPCA - Managing Livestock after Bushfire -  Updated 18.01.2020
  • Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) - Scamwatch - Updated 10.01.2020
  • Justice Office of Emergency Management - Disaster Welfare Assistance Locations - Updated 18.01.2020
  • Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry - New information portal - Updated 10.01.2020
  • National Debt Help line - Rural Financial Counselling Service - Updated 18.01.2020


    Immediate Small Business Support for Bushfire Affected Communities - Updated 20.01.2020

    In response to the devastating bushfires, the Morrison Government has today announced a comprehensive suite of measures to immediately support impacted small businesses. 

    This initial package responds to the needs expressed by small businesses on the ground and at the small business roundtable last week which saw chambers of commerce from fire affected regions, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia come together with the Government to discuss the impacts of this natural disaster on small business. 

    This comprehensive package will make it easier for those who have suffered direct fire damage, or have been indirectly economically impacted following the bushfires, to get back on their feet.

    This package deals with the challenges we know small businesses in these areas are facing, and will continue to face. Our immediate priorities for small businesses include grant funding, concessional loans, tax relief, a dedicated and single contact point to help them access the support that is available, and financial counselling services that are targeted to help small and family business owners deal with the emotional and financial challenges they face.

    Source: Prime Minister of Australia Media Release - 20.01.2020

    • Click here to read the Media Release which provides further information on the following:
      • Grant funding
      • Concessional Loans
      • Dedicated, single contact point
      • Local economic development plans
      • Tax relief
    • Click here to read more about Help for Australian Bushfire affected businesses



    Small Business Commissioner - Updated 07.01.2020

    • Click here for more information on support for small businesses affected by bushfires from the NSW Government Small Business Commissioner. Refer to information below as a quick guide to support for small businesses.

    Support for all businesses, including lost trade or disruption

    Disaster Recovery Allowance | Small Business Recovery Toolkit | Solving problems and dispute resolution service | 
    Business Connect | Fair Trading | Credit & mortgage hardship lines | Financial advice | Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) | Utility payments hardship support | Energy & Water Ombudsman | Mental health

      Support for businesses that have had premises or equipment damaged or destroyed

      Disaster Recovery Grants | Natural Disaster Relief Loans | Australian Government Emergency Information Line | Insurance Council of Australia | Safe Work NSW | Service NSW | Motor Vehicle stamp duty relief

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          Small Business impact survey - Small Business Commissioner - Updated 07.01.2020

          The NSW Small Business Commissioner is seeking to hear from small business owners in bush fire affected areas regarding the impact of the recent fires on their business.

          Information provided will be shared with government agencies and other organisations and be instrumental in determining the level of recovery support provided.

          If you run a small business in the Shoalhaven, please share your thoughts via the survey.

          • Click here to take the Small Business impact survey (or click on the pic below)

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          Declared Natural Disasters - Rural Assistance Authority - Updated 07.01.2020

          Apply Now:

          See below for further information. Click on the Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) logo to be taken to the RAA Website or go to raa.nsw.gov.au 

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          Disaster Recovery Allowance - Department of Human Services - Updated 22.01.2020

          Assistance is available if you can show you have experienced a loss of income or have been adversely affected as a direct result of the NSW Bushfires in August 2019 through to January 2020.

          The Disaster Recovery Allowance is a short-term payment to help you if a declared disaster directly affects your income. The payment is available in specific local government areas. Call 180 22 66 or visit the Department of Human Services website.

          • Click here to visit the Department of Human Services website

            How To Claim:
            • The fastest way to claim is over the phone. To claim, either:
              • call the Department of Human Services on 180 22 66 
              • go to a service centre.
              • Phone lines are open 8 am to 8 pm (local time) Monday to Friday and 8 am to 5 pm (local time) Saturday and Sunday. Call 131 202 to talk to the Department of Human Services in languages other than English.
            Get your documents ready:
            • You’ll need to provide evidence supporting the claimed loss of income. For example:
              • pay slips from an employer
              • bank statements showing previous bank deposits from an employer
              • a letter from your employer
              • profit and loss statements
              • income tax returns
              • other account documents identifying cash flow.

            If you’re having trouble getting these documents you should still lodge a claim without delay. 

            • You can provide your supporting documents to Department of Human Services within 28 days. 
            • You may also need to confirm your identity. The Department of Human Services will tell you how to do it during the claim process. 
            • You will need to provide one document showing Proof of Birth or Proof of Arrival in Australia. Alternatively, you can provide any other approved documents that add up to the value of 50 points. 
              • For example: driver’s licence (40 points) / bank card/statement (40 points) / Medicare card (20 points).

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            Disaster Recovery Grants - Small Business - Rural Assistance Authority - Updated 07.01.2020

            Natural disaster recovery grants provide immediate relief to eligible primary producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations, for clean-up and restoration costs in the aftermath of extreme natural disasters.

            • The Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) administers these grants under the joint Commonwealth and NSW Government funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) 2018.
            • To report damage following a severe weather event primary producers are encouraged to contact their closest Local Land Services (LLS) office or telephone on 1300 795 299.
            • The Rural Assistance Authority can be contacted on 1800 678 593
              • Grants of up to $15,000 are available if your business has been directly affected by bushfire. (Eligibility criteria apply).
              • Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) on the link below.
            • Click here to visit the Rural Assistance Authority website.
            • Click here to read about Disaster Recovery Grants and online application on the RAA Website.
            • Click here to download the Frequently Asked Questions on the Disaster Recovery Grants for small business (637.9kb)
            • Click here to be taken directly to the RAA Natural Disaster Relief Grant Form - online application
              • Find out what you can claim
              • What you will need
              • Apply online or manually
              • Need help?

            Find out what you can claim - What you will need:

            To receive payment, you will need to include your bank account details on the application form.

            SMALL BUSINESSES are required to provide:

            • Proof of business registration - copy of current registration certificate.
            • Proof of business location - copy of last rates notice, gas bill, electricity bill, phone bill or lease agreement.
            • Proof of income - copy of Business Taxation Returns and Financial Statements plus Personal Tax Returns of all members of the Business (tax assessments are not acceptable). Do not send original tax returns.
            • Proof of expenditure - copies of Tax Invoice/ Receipts of expenditure incurred to date (can be supplied post assessment). No payments will be made on quotations.
            • Proof of insurance - copy of Insurance Claim (if applicable).

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              Disaster Relief Loans - Small Business - Rural Assistance Authority - Updated 07.01.2020

              Small businesses who have been directly affected by a declared natural disaster including floods, fires or storm damage, may be eligible for low interest loans of up to $130,000.


              This low interest rate loan can help a small business:

              • return to its normal level of trading or until the next major income is received within 12 months from the date of disaster
              • replace and repair damage caused to your small business and associated improvements not covered by insurance.
              • Click here to visit the Rural Assistance Authority website - Disaster relief loans - Small business

              Information below from the Rural Assistance Authority website - www.raa.nsw.gov.au

              Title Details
              Guidelines
              PDF, 71.0 KB
              Application form
              DOC, 748.0 KB
              Loan Application Online Form

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              Disaster Recovery Grant - Primary Producers - Rural Assistance Authority - Updated 18.01.2020

              • Grants of up to $15,000 are available for bush fire affected primary producers. 
              • Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593
              • Click here for more information on Disaster Recovery Grants for the Shoalhaven.
              • Click here to download the Frequently Asked Questions on the Disaster Recovery Grants for primary producers (944.34kb)

              Find out what you can claim - What you will need:

              To receive payment, you will need to include your bank account details on the application form.

              PRIMARY PRODUCERS are required to provide:

              • Proof of property location - copy of last Local Government Area and Local Land Services rate notices.
              • Proof of income - copy of Farm Business Taxation Returns and Financial Statements plus Personal Tax Returns of all members of the Business (tax assessments are not acceptable). Do not send original tax returns.
              • Proof of expenditure - copies of Tax Invoice/ Receipts of expenditure incurred to date (can be supplied post assessment). No payments will be made on quotations.
              • Proof of insurance - copy of Insurance Claim (if applicable).


              Primary Industries Natural Disaster Damage Survey - 18.01.2020

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              Primary producers affected by bushfires are encouraged to complete the Primary Industries Natural Disaster Damage Survey

              This source of "ground truth" information helps the Government and communities fully understand the scale, severity and regional distribution of the fires on agriculture and target resources and assistance in an area.

              The survey allows you to:

              • Simply provide the number of crops, animals and infrastructure damaged as a result of the bushfires
              • Add photos to the assessment
              • See the severity of damage in your area

              For more information on completing the survey, please visit the NSW DPI website 

              For more information on the broad range of assistance and support available to NSW primary producers, visit the NSW Rural Assistance Authority website 

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                Disaster Relief Loans- Primary Producers - Rural Assistance Authority - Updated 07.01.2020

                Primary producers directly affected by a declared natural disaster who are in urgent and genuine need of assistance, may be eligible for low interest loans of up to $130,000.

                This low interest rate loan can help a farm business to:

                • continue to operate your farm businesses for the next twelve months or until the next income is received
                • replace and repair damage caused to the property and associated improvements not covered by insurance.

                Title Details
                Guidelines
                PDF, 147.6 KB
                Application form
                DOC, 863.5 KB
                Loan Application Online Form
                • Click here to be taken to the Disaster relief loans - primary producers website page

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                Natural Disaster Transport Subsidy - Rural Assistance Authority - Updated 07.01.2020

                A natural disaster assistance transport subsidy is available to eligible farmers who are affected by a declared natural disaster event. This subsidy pays for the cost of transporting:

                • fodder and/or water to an affected property
                • stock to sale or slaughter
                • stock to/from agistment.

                Refer to the Declared natural disasters table for LGA's eligible for this assistance.

                • Click here to be taken to the Natural Disaster Transport Subsidy RAA Website page

                Title Details
                Guidelines
                PDF, 319.3 KB
                Frequently Asked Questions
                PDF, 92.5 KB
                Manual Claim form
                DOC, 86.9 KB
                Online Claim form
                Attachment Sheet – Movements
                PDF, 56.3 KB
                Attachment Sheet – Transportation Costs
                PDF, 53.0 KB

                Additional Assistance can be located at the following links:

                • Click here to be taken to the Emergency Drought Transport RAA website page
                • Click here to be taken to the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme RAA website page
                • Click here to be taken to the Animal Welfare Transport Subsidy RAA website page
                • Click here to be taken to the Donated Fodder Transport Subsidy RAA website page

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                Dairy Connect - Legal Aid NSW - Law Society of NSW - Updated 09.01.2020

                For those impacted by the devastating bushfires which has resulted inthe tragic loss of life, animals and infrastructure, please find below a statement from the President of the Law Society of NSW, Richard Harvey,regarding the availability of legal assistance from Legal Aid NSW.

                Shaughn Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, Dairy Connect

                • For those impacted by the bushfires, Legal Aid NSW is currently providing free, practical legal assistance to help these people recover and rebuild. 
                • The LawAccess NSW Disaster Response Hotline is 1800 801 529 or go to www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au.
                • Click here to access further information on New Free Legal Service for Bushfire Victims by the President of the Law Society, Richard Harvey

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                Disaster Relief Loans - Non-profit organisations - Rural Assistance Authority - Updated 07.01.2020

                Natural disaster relief loans assist voluntary non-profit organisations directly affected by a declared natural disaster including flood, fire or storm damage.

                Low interest rate loans are available:

                • for the restoration of essential facilities that have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster
                • and may also be directed towards temporary storage or leasing of alternate premises

                Title Details
                Guidelines
                PDF, 70.4 KB
                Loan application
                DOC, 597.0 KB
                Loan Application Online Form

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                Business Connect - NSW Government - Updated 18.01.2020

                Business Connect is a free mobile advisory service which is available to small businesses. 

                • A local advisor can meet you at a convenient place and discuss your business needs. 
                • Advice is offered about managing cash flow, planning the next steps, accessing financial support schemes and connecting to additional support.
                • Business Connect can be contacted on 1300 134 359
                • Click here for more information on the Business Connect website.

                The Small Business Bus will be visiting the following Bushfire affected locations as follows:

                • Thursday, 23 January 2020 - 9:00am - 3:30pm - The Country Club Car Park - ST GEORGES BASIN 
                  11 Paradise Beach Road, Sanctuary Point
                • Friday, 24 January 2020 - 9:00am to 11:30am - LAKE CONJOLA (Lake Conjola Community Centre)
                  Lake Conjola Entrance Road - cnr Aney Street, Lake Conjola
                • Friday, 24 January 2020 - 12:15pm to 3:00pm - SUSSEX INLET (Post office or RSL)
                  200 Sussex Inlet Road, Sussex Inlet
                • Tuesday, 4 February 2020 - 9:00am to 3:30pm - KANGAROO VALLEY (Osborne Park, Kangaroo Valley Showground). Moss Vale Road, Kangaroo Valley (May move to The Hive, depending on parking)
                • Wednesday, 5 February 2020 – 9:00am to 3:30pm - NOWRA CBD
                  Corner of Junction St & Kinghorne Street - Near the NAB Bank

                • Click here to register for the Business Connect Bus.

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                Dispute Resolution Service - Small Business Commissioner - Updated 07.01.2020

                • A confidential and free dispute resolution service that has been set up to help small businesses needing assistance to work through problems with other businesses or government.
                • The Dispute Resolution Service can be contacted on 1300 795 534  
                • Click here for more information on the Dispute Resolution Service

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                Clean-up Assistance - Public Works Authority - Updated 07.01.2020

                • If your property is insured, please contact your insurer about clean-up. 
                • If you are uninsured and your home has been damaged or destroyed, Public Works Advisory will arrange for the clean-up of your residence and immediately adjacent outbuildings, including the removal of concrete slabs. 
                • If you are uninsured, please contact Public Works Advisory on 1800 88 55 39 to discuss the clean-up of your property.
                • Click here for more information on Public Works Advisory.

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                NSW Bushfire Clean Up - Service NSW Registration - Updated 18.1.2020

                Clean Up Assistance

                The NSW Government is coordinating the clean-up of NSW residences and businesses impacted by the NSW bushfires. This includes both insured and uninsured properties.

                • Click here to register for help with your clean-up (Service NSW)

                Fences

                • If your land borders national park or nature reserves and you've had fences damaged or destroyed in the fires, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is offering assistance to replace/repair.
                • Click here for more information on fire-damaged fences assistance

                Owners of business/commercial premises

                Please register with your details. The government is working through the eligibility criteria and will contact you when the specifics are finalised. If you are insured, also speak with your insurer.


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                Insurance Council of Australia - Updated 07.01.2020

                • The Insurance Council of Australia can be contacted with any questions, complaints or concerns about insurance on 1800 734 621.
                • Click here for more information on The Insurance Council of Australia.

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                Regional NSW Website - Updated 07.01.2020

                • Information, advice and assistance is available for people managing a business, including business tools to analyse profitability and prepare for export. 
                • The office of Regional NSW can be contacted on 02 6760 2670  
                • Click here to visit the Regional NSW Website.

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                Australian Taxation Office - Deferrals for activity statement lodgements and payments due for anyone in the identified impacted postcodes - 09.01.2020

                The ATO understands large parts of Australia continue to be affected by the devastating bushfires. A number of local government areas have been granted access to the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP). The ATO will automatically grant deferrals for activity statement lodgements and payments due for anyone in the identified impacted postcodes

                Full details of these deferrals and a list of impacted postcodes are available on our website – anyone affected by the fires should focus on getting their other affairs in order and not worry about their tax obligations at this time.

                If you have been impacted by these bushfires and need assistance with your tax affairs, you can contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 and the ATO will work with you to get you back on track. More information about the assistance the ATO can offer is available on the ATO website at ato.gov.au/naturaldisasters

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                Emergency Grants - Australian Bushfires 2019/2020 - Red Cross - Updated 21.01.2020

                Grants are available if you’ve lost your home in a bushfire since July 2019. 

                • If you’ve lost your home in a bushfire since July 2019, you can apply for an emergency grant of $5,000.
                • Emergency grants are open across Australia to people whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable as the result of bushfires from 1 July 2019 to 28 February 2020.
                • Your primary place of residence is the place you reside in on a permanent basis, whether as an owner/occupier or a tenant.
                • A grant of $5,000 is available per household. (Update 21.02.2020: A grant of $10,000 is available per household).
                • Grants will be open until 30 April 2020.
                • Click here to be taken to the Red Cross Emergency Grants - Australian Bushfires website


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                Managing Livestock after Bushfire - RSPCA - 18.01.2020

                Following a bushfire, there are a number of actions you need to take to ensure your livestock are kept healthy.

                The Local Land Services Information Sheet Local Land Services Information Sheet (External link) will help you manage livestock after a fire.

                Sometimes, despite the best plans and preparation, horses, livestock and other animals are caught up in bushfires. You can learn more about how to help livestock that have been burnt by a fire here:

                • Click here to find out more information about assisting livestock that have been burnt by fire.


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                Beware of bushfire related scams - Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) - Updated 10.01.2019

                The ACCC is warning the community, including small businesses, to be careful when making donations to support bushfire charities and fund raising initiatives.

                Scammers are targeting people by pretending to represent legitimate or well-known charities or fund raising organisations, or by setting up their own fake fund raising pages on social media and fund raising platforms.

                You can report scams to Scamwatch using our web form. You can also report bushfire related scams by calling our dedicated hotline on 1300 795 995.

                The following tips can help protect you against scammers:

                • Do not donate via fund raising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent.
                • Be careful about crowdfunding requests as these may be fake and also come from scammers. Check the terms and conditions of fund raising platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations. If you are unsure make your donation to an established charity instead.
                • If you are donating to an established charity or not-for-profit organisation, ensure it is registered by searching the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) charity register and check that you are on its official website.

                The ACNC also provides information and tips for charities who want to support disaster relief. If you are a registered charity you can find some useful information on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's website about offers of assistance and donations.

                You can find more information on bushfires and scams on the Scamwatch website.

                Small Business team
                Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

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                Disaster Welfare Assistance Point Established - Ulladulla & Nowra - Updated 10.01.2020

                Disaster Welfare Assistant Points will be set up in Ulladulla (Civic Centre) from Thursday 9 January 2020 and from Friday 10 January 2020, in Nowra (Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre). 

                These welfare points provide immediate support to those impacted by the recent fires and are run by the Office of Emergency Management, in conjunction with support agencies.  

                The purpose of these centres is to continue to provide for the immediate needs of the community, following the closure of evacuation centres. 

                Fire-affected members of the community with immediate needs such as shelter, food or water can visit the Disaster Welfare Assistance Points and register for assistance.  

                The following locations will be operating as Disaster Welfare Assistance Points: 

                Ulladulla Civic Centre 
                81B Princes Highway Ulladulla

                • Open from Thursday 9 January 2020  
                • Will operate Monday to Sunday 9am to 4pm 

                Shoalhaven City Council 
                Bridge Road Nowra 

                • Will operate Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm 

                It is also intended for outreach points to be provided, at times, to significantly impacted communities. These will be advertised within the community once needs, days and times are determined.   

                For those that are unable to attend a welfare point in person there is also a Disaster Welfare Assistance Line, operating every day from 8.30am to 4.30 pm, call 1800 018 444. 

                Click here for more information on Disaster Welfare Assistance Points.

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                New information portal for bushfire affected businesses - Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry - Updated 10.01.2020

                The thoughts of the business community, like all Australians, are with bushfire-impacted communities, and those who have lost their lives, lost family members and friends, or their homes and livelihoods.

                ACCI has launched a straightforward website to help fire-affected small-to-medium sized businesses access critical information, in one central location. The site lists the available funding and grants from federal and state governments as well information and resources – from financial advice, insurance and tax, to what work health and safety precautions business owners need to take.

                This information portal also tracks what Australia’s chambers of commerce, large and small, and industry associations are doing to help businesses and communities impacted by fires, ranging from providing free services and hotlines to collecting donations.

                The site will be updated on a daily basis as and when new information and resources from both government and businesses alike are announced.

                This complements the tens of thousands of individual businesses and their staff that are spontaneously collecting donations and providing other forms of assistance.

                We encourage all businesses that are impacted either directly or indirectly by the fires to:

                • Visit: bushfireinfo.business
                • Reach out to their local chambers of commerce and industry associations for assistance during this time, whether they are members or not.

                ACCI and its members across the country will work with governments at all levels to support recovery.

                Our focus is on practical assistance and infrastructure to help regional small-to-medium sized businesses that are often at the heart of fire-affected communities, get back on their feet, and helping their employees get back to work wherever possible, as soon as possible.

                We urge all Australians to play their part by doing business with regional communities impacted by fires, buying their goods, using their services, and when it is safe travelling there with open hearts and wallets.

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                National Debt Help Line - Rural Financial Counselling Service - Updated 18.01.2020

                1800 007 007Is a free phone in service that assists anyone in a rural area who is facing financial hardship.

                Can assist businesses that have suffered a down-turn or decrease in business due to drought or bush-fires.

                • The service offers over the phone advice and referral and also co-ordinates on-ground financial counsellors (face-to-face sessions).
                • They do not hand out cash.
                • They do not provide legal advice.

                Not the initial point of contact for crisis assistance – i.e. Disaster Assistance Centre or Red Cross are the first point of call for crisis payments.

                NB: Businesses do not need to explain or justify their need for support, or tell their story over and over again: they just need to say ; “I am a business that has been affected by the bushfires. What hardship mechanisms can you put in place for me”


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                If you would like to speak with the Economic Development Office at Shoalhaven City Council please contact 
                02 4429 3388. We are here to assist you with your enquiry.

                • Click here to be taken to Shoalhaven City Council Bushfire Recovery Page


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