Disaster relief for small businesses

Thursday 23 April 2015:

I welcome the disaster relief assistance for small businesses in 12 local government areas jointly announced by the NSW and Australian Governments.

The once in a decade storm that has lashed the Hunter region, Central Coast and Sydney has left devastation in these communities- and while the damage is still being assessed, small businesses will be impacted.

The loss of just one day’s income can really hurt small businesses, especially those which don’t have a significant financial ‘buffer’. While some damage may be covered by insurance, other repair and maintenance requirements may not.

The disaster assistance relief will help small businesses rebuild and ensure repairs and maintenance are carried out as soon as possible.

Under the assistance, small businesses and primary producers directly impacted by the disaster may be able to apply for loans of up to $130,000 at a fixed concessional interest rate (subject to certain eligibility criteria).

These loans may be used to provide essential working capital to meet carry-on requirements or to repair or replace damaged property not covered by insurance.

The funding has been made available by the Australian Government and the NSW State Government under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA). It will be administered by the NSW Government.

The 12 areas covered are Cessnock, Dungog, Gosford, Great Lakes, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle City, Pittwater, Port Stephens, Singleton, Warringah and Wyong.

Businesses interested in the assistance should contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit the Rural Assistance Authority website (http://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/assistance) .

I also encourage small businesses and independent contractors in need to take advantage of the Australian Government’s Single Business Service which provides advice and referral services on a range of issues including stress and hardship counselling.

The service, which is delivered by AusIndustry, can be accessed at: www.business.gov.au or by calling: 13 28 46.