Primary producers and small businesses in Victoria affected by the 2019-20 bushfires will benefit from time and eligibility changes announced recently.

Eligibility criteria for primary producer grants of up to $75,000 have been amended to ensure that assistance is provided to those that need it.

And both the primary producer grants and small businesses grants and loans application timeframes have been extended to December 2020.

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said these changes will ensure that those impacted by drought, fires and now COVID-19 will have more time to speak to a recovery officer and access the assistance relevant to them.

“We know this year has been difficult and we have listened to those affected. The changes to the eligibility for the primary producer grants will ensure those affected get the support they need. Importantly, those that have already applied and didn’t meet the criteria will be contacted by government representatives to confirm their situation and assess their eligibility under these new guidelines.”

“Extending the application periods for both primary producers and small businesses give the operators the time they need to get their applications in,” Senator Henderson said.

Key eligibility changes to the primary producer grants 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.

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 2020.

Primary producers and small business owners are urged to contact their state recovery hotline, and chat about their circumstances with a recovery officer rather than assuming they don’t fit the criteria.

Further details are available on the National Bushfire Recovery Agency website.

A list of local government areas where this assistance is available can be found here.

31 July 2020