$100m SME support package unveiled for Northern NSW

$100m SME support package unveiled for Northern NSW

Photo: Business Lismore, via Facebook.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in seven areas recently hit by floods in Northern NSW will be able to apply for $100 million worth of support packages, jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments.

The package will apply to the highly-impacted local government areas (LGAs) of Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Kyogle, the Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley and Tweed, with two different packages on offer:

  • Support for medium-sized (21-199 full time employees) businesses ($20 million), with grants up to $200,000 available to assist with clean-up, essential repairs and replacement that are not covered by existing insurance.
  • Support for eligible small businesses that have suffered a 40 per cent or more downturn in their income ($80 million), with grants of up to $10,000 to help meet their operating costs so they can survive during the period in which the local economy is depressed.

Large businesses and major employers in these regions will also be able to access a total of up to $50 million to provide immediate financial assistance in the Northern Rivers.

Residents in these LGAs can apply for extra payments of $2,000 through the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) and the Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) for the disaster-declared seven LGAs in New South Wales. As of yesterday, $653 million had been paid directly to support 596,000 individuals in the state.

These supports form part of a state-wide $742 million package announced today that builds on $1 billion in emergency response and relief provided under existing schemes, with hundreds of millions of dollars now going towards farmers, rural landholders and property damage assessments.

The new package comprises $150 million targeting primary producers to protect supply chains while boosting recovery and rebuilding efforts, alongside $35 million for rural landholder grants of up to $25,000 for impacted landholders state-wide who are not eligible under existing support mechanisms.

There will also be $142 million on offer to provide assessment of properties and the demolition of those found to be uninhabitable across disaster-declared LGAs.

for the primary industry sector targeted at assisting primary producers to protect supply chains, and boost recovery and rebuilding efforts.

The New South Wales Government will also provide a $120 million local council support package including $40 million in grants to councils so they can address urgent and immediate operational challenges, and $80 million to establish a working capital fund to supplement councils with flood and disaster recovery where residents are unable to pay their rates.

A further $145 million will go towards the urgent repair and replacement of water and sewerage critical infrastructure capacity in the Northern Rivers disaster-declared LGAs.

“We will continue to support thousands of residents and businesses in Northern New South Wales, by giving them the support they need to get back on their feet,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“This support package gets money in the hands of our small and medium-sized businesses and our farmers so they can rebuild and support the whole community to recover together.

“To date, my Government has provided New South Wales with $1.7 billion in direct funding to help communities rebuild and we will continue to back in those businesses and residents that need support.”

Acting New South Wales Premier Paul Toole said the state's communities were resilient but needed the right support now " to rebuild and bounce back stronger than ever".

"These regional communities provide vital resources for a huge part of the NSW population, so it’s critical money lands in the hands of local residents, our farmers, and business owners impacted by the floods to help keep the engine room of our state moving," Toole said.

“This latest package will provide valuable support to the hardest-hit communities of Ballina, Byron, Lismore, Kyogle, Richmond Valley, Tweed Shire, and Clarence Valley.”

Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience Bridget McKenzie said that this new support package for NSW would assist businesses in flood-affected communities to get back on their feet.

"The floods have had a devastating impact on our communities in Northern NSW, causing enormous upheaval to lives and livelihoods. This new package will support businesses and communities to repair the damage, stimulate local economies, and help communities to move forward,” Minister McKenzie said.

New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the seven most heavily impacted areas of Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tweed, Ballina, Byron, Kyogle and Clarence Valley would receive $150 million worth of funding support to assist businesses and employers within the Northern Rivers region get back to work.

“This commitment includes $100 million for small-to-medium sized businesses and not-for-profit organisations,” Minister Cooke said.

“With the clean-up continuing in earnest, we are also pleased to extend the Clean Up and Recovery Grants to the additional 13 disaster-declared Local Government Areas (LGAs).”

There are now 58 LGAs in NSW eligible for assistance under the DRFA. This includes the additional LGA of Port Stephens.

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