$500,000 interest-free loans to help fire-affected businesses

Businesses directly affected by January’s bushfires can now access two-year interest-free loans of up to $500,000 to help them get back on track after the devastating fires.

Joint Media Release

Attorney-General
Minister for Emergency Management
Special Minister of State
Minister for the Public Service and Integrity
The Hon Mark Dreyfus

Premier of Tasmania
Lara Giddings

Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business
Rebecca White

28 April 2013

Businesses directly affected by January’s bushfires can now access two-year interest-free loans of up to $500,000 to help them get back on track after the devastating fires.

The Premier Lara Giddings today announced the Bushfire Recovery Loan Program – supported by the Federal Government - while visiting oyster growers affected by the bushfires in Boomer Bay.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management Mark Dreyfus QC said loans of between $50,000 and $500,000 would help businesses to re-establish themselves by covering costs such as repairing and replacing damaged plant and equipment, buildings or other infrastructure, as well as assisting with rent and rates.

“The Australian and Tasmanian governments will continue to work together to ensure that disaster-affected communities can quickly recover,” Mr Dreyfus said.

Ms Giddings said, “The loans will help individual businesses recover from such a major blow and will provide a much-needed stimulation to the local economy.”

“Approximately 40 businesses were severely damaged or destroyed in the January bushfires, leaving many of them unable to operate,” Ms Giddings said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business, Rebecca White, said the loans would be available to businesses that suffered direct damage to physical assets as a result of the January bushfires in the areas of Sorell, Tasman, Glamorgan-Spring Bay and Ellendale.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities – they provide employment, economic activity and crucial services,” Ms White said.

“Getting businesses back up and running is an important part of the overall recovery effort.”

The program is being jointly funded by the Federal Government through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

It forms part of a broader $1 million economic recovery package which is supporting bushfire-affected areas, and includes the following:

  • $100,000 for a dedicated Economic Development Officer for the Sorell/Tasman area for a minimum of 12 months;
  • $250 000 tourism advertising program;
  • $20 000 for the Tasman and Sorell Councils to develop settlement plans for future development; and
  • $30 000 for a feasibility study on a marina in the Dunalley township.

“A number of these measures are currently being implemented, including the Tassie Comeback Tour advertising campaign and dedicated Economic Development Officer based at Dunalley.

“The funding will guarantee the continued presence of an Economic Development Officer for the next 12 months to help facilitate the growth of local enterprises and industry,” Ms Giddings said.

Businesses wishing to apply for the loans can contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or email ask@business.tas.gov.au.

Information regarding the range of assistance that is available in each of the affected Local Government Areas in Tasmania can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website.

Businesses can also access mentoring services which are available throughout the State.