Small businesses, primary producers and not-for-profit organisations in East Gippsland and Wellington shires suffering as a result of the bushfire crisis can now apply for government loans of up to $500,000.
Applications are now open for concessional loans of up to $500,000 under the Victorian Bushfire Concessional Loans scheme.
The loans are jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments under the Disaster Recovery Arrangements. The scheme is administered by Rural Finance.
The loans are available to help businesses that sustained significant damage to their assets as well as those who have suffered a significant loss of income due to the fires.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said many businesses across Gippsland needed help to resume normal operations.
“The impact of these fires has been widespread,” Mr Chester said. “For some, the damage can be clearly seen as you drive through the areas where the fires swept through.
“But we must not forget there are other businesses that have lost many thousands of dollars because the roads were closed and tourists were sent away.
“The financial losses have been enormous and we need to do what we can to help our local businesses get through this tough period.
“I hope the loans will go some way to helping many to get back on their feet.”
The loans can be used to restore or replace damaged assets and to meet working capital expenses, such as paying wages and bills. For the first two years, repayments will not be required and interest will not accrue.
Applications, eligibility criteria and guidelines are available at https://www.ruralfinance.com.au/industry-programs/victorian-bushfires-2019-2020-concessional-loans or call Rural Finance on 1800 260 425.