Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an initial $100 million in emergency bushire funding will be made available to farm, fish and forestry businesses in fire-affected regions following an agreement with relevant state governments.
Affected businesses will be able to apply for grants up to $75,000 to help rebuild, in addition to support provided by the recent $15 million funding for the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS).
The Prime Minister commented;
“We will do whatever it takes to support those communities and businesses hit by these fires, and if we need to do more, we will.
“I need to stress this is an uncapped program so if demand for support goes above $100 million, money will continue to flow.
“As the scale of the damage becomes apparent, it is clear that our farm, our fish and forest businesses need support and along with communities who depend on them, we will help them rebuild and we will continue to back them.
“This funding will support primary producers to access essentials like fodder and water, while also help rebuild fencing or hire vital agricultural equipment like water pumps, irrigation systems, horticultural netting and generators.”
Senator Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Agriculture, said work has begun on helping communities and businesses rebuild after the fires.
“Rural and regional communities particularly across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have been hit hard by the bushfires and we will continue to work together to support all those Australians whose livelihoods have been devastated by these fires,” Minister McKenzie commented.
“This funding could help pay for tradespeople to conduct farm safety inspections, for veterinary fees, waste disposal and to repair any damaged property.
“Our farmers, fishers and foresters have been hit extremely hard by these terrible fires. I’ve seen firsthand, farmers who have left their properties to fight fires.
“Our farmers are resilient and very generous putting themselves on the line for their friends and neighbours.
“These grants of up to $75,000 will help get them the equipment they need to start rebuilding.
“We’re working closely with farming groups to develop specific industry recovery plans.”
The same off-farm income rules for Farm Household Allowance will apply to these grants, meaning farmers that are not eligible for Category C payments due to off-farm income rules will still be eligible for the up to $75,000 grants.
Funding will be available through the Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program and assistance will be provided through a joint Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement between states and territories and the Commonwealth Government.
Further details to be announced.
For more information on the Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program please contact 1800 900 090.