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$50k bushfire grants for small business announced

GRANTS of up to $50,000 for small businesses affected by recent bushfires will be made available soon following an announcement from the Federal Government.

In a move welcomed by the state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the grant increase from $15,000 to $50,000 would immediately support impacted small businesses.

“We’ll also be providing loans of zero interest for two years of up to $500,000 and over 10 years at a concessional rate of what was around about 0.6 per cent on the current rates,” Mr Hogan said.

“This is going to save small businesses rebuilding their businesses with working capital and they don’t have to have had direct impact of the fires on their business to access these loans.

“That’s worth over $100,000 in interest payments they wouldn’t have to make. This means that the loan doesn’t get bigger; they can just get back on with it. The customers come back and the businesses rebuild and the local towns and communities rebuild with their support.”

NSW Business Chamber Northern Rivers regional manager Jane Laverty said the specific package for bushfire impacted small businesses will provide some good news to local business owners and their employees.

“Apart from the financial support, it’s good to see the commitment of the government to work with local business organisations on developing localised recovery plans,” Mrs Laverty said.

“Local Chambers of Commerce in partnership with our regional chamber offices have the knowledge and experience to help their communities get back on their feet.

“There’s no doubt the economic recovery of these towns will be driven by how quickly the business community can re-open its doors and provide employment and certainty for its residents.

“One of the other initiatives involves providing financial advice to small business owners, who will need help in working out what’s best for their business going forward.

“Small business owners, by their very nature, are optimistic and many battle each day just to open their doors and employ their fellow Australians, so they feel it harder than most when a disaster like this hits their community, and their concerns are often more about being able to pay their staff and honour existing commitments.