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Small businesses and primary producers in Wellington Shire who lost income due to the summer bushfires are now eligible to apply for a $10,000 government grant.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed the expansion of the Small Business Bushfire Support Grants to include Wellington.

More than 1,000 grants have already been paid to small businesses and primary producers in Victoria, including to those located in East Gippsland.

“This will be welcome news to many businesses in Wellington that were significantly impacted by the fires,” Mr Chester said. “We haven’t forgotten there are businesses that lost many thousands of dollars because the roads were closed and tourists were sent away.

“The financial losses have been enormous and I hope these grants will help more local businesses get through this tough period.”

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud jointly announced the new funding with the state Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville.

“This is an excellent outcome for those regions and it’s important to continue to maintain a stimulus for small businesses affected by both this summer bushfires as well as suffering the necessary restrictions due to COVID -19,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The extension of the grant to these new areas in Victoria means many more local businesses can now get the support they need to cover income lost after the fires.

“The success of the grant process is in part due to the application process which we ensured was as simple as possible, with applicants able to complete their claim in a few minutes online without having to upload any financial documents.”

The grant is available for eligible businesses which have lost significant income as a result of the fires, whether they were directly flame-affected or not. Businesses are also able to have their applications assessed under exceptional circumstances if they don’t meet the specific eligibility criteria.

As of 2 June, $11,350,000 in $10,000 grants had been paid out to recipients in Victoria, with 610 applicants receiving the grant in East Gippsland.

The Small Business Bushfire Support Grant is funded by the Commonwealth Government and administered by the Victorian Government, with applications and payments processed by Rural Finance.

The Commonwealth and Victorian governments will jointly fund this expansion of the program. For details about the grant and other available support, visit recovery.servicesconnect.gov.au.

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