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Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grants Victoria

Grants of up to $50,000 are available to eligible Victorian small businesses affected by the Victorian bushfires

Program Overview

Grants of up to $50,000 are available to eligible Victorian small businesses and non-profit organisations (NPOs) affected by the Victorian bushfires commencing 21 November 2019.

These grants are intended to help pay for costs of clean-up and reinstatement of eligible small businesses that have suffered direct damage as a result of bushfires.

Applications are open until 31 December 2020 and can be made via the Apply now button on this page.

Please note: Loss of income is not covered under this grants program

Farm businesses are not eligible under this grants program. Primary producers should instead see the Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants on the Rural Finance website.

Emergency Bushfire Response: Small Business Grants guidelines (DOCX 56.92 KB)DOCX icon

Emergency Bushfire Response: Non-profit Organisation Grants guidelines (DOCX 37 KB)DOCX icon

Bushfire Recovery Financial Support Factsheet (PDF 112.37 KB)PDF icon

At a glance

Value
  • The maximum grant amount for clean up and re-instatement is $50,000. To support a claim, evidence of the direct damage such as photographs, quotations, tax invoices or official receipts required.
  • Multiple applications can be made up to the maximum amount available under the small business grants.
Eligibility

Grants are available to Victorian small businesses (1-19 employees) and NPOs that have sustained damage as a result of the Victorian bushfires beginning 21 November 2019.

Detailed eligibility criteria can be found below.

For your small business to be eligible for the grant, you must:

  • be a small business owner
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at the time of the eligible disaster
  • own a small business located in a defined disaster area that has suffered direct damage as a result the Victorian bushfires commencing 21 November 2019
  • have been engaged in carrying on the small business when affected
  • be primarily responsible for meeting the costs claimed in the application
  • be intending to re-establish the small business in the defined disaster area.

What if my business is located outside a disaster area?

An applicant may also be eligible for a grant if the small business is located outside a defined  disaster area but operates part-time or on some regular basis within the defined disaster area and that business’ plant and/or equipment was damaged.

What if my business has more than 20 employees?

Applications from businesses that employ 20 or more full time employees but have a turnover of less than $50 million may also be considered following submission to the National Bushfire Recovery Agency via the [state delivery agency].

What if I operate more than one affected small business?

Applicants who operate more than one small business, for example under a single ABN at separate locations, may apply for assistance for each eligible separate business up to the maximum amount of assistance available for the relevant defined disaster area and determined by the establishment notice.

When determining an application on this basis, the administrating agency may consider (but is not limited to):

  • the staffing arrangement of the separate business
  • whether the separate business has its own plant, equipment or stock
  • the accounting and insurance arrangements of the separate business
  • whether the separate business operates under its own trading name
  • the commercial viability and autonomy of each business.

For an NPO to be eligible for the grant, it must:

  • be a non-profit organisation
  • be registered with Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) or an equivalent State regulatory body and have held that registration at the time of the eligible disaster
  • be located in a defined disaster area for the Victorian bushfires commencing 21 November 2019 and have suffered direct damage
  • be primarily responsible for meeting the costs claimed in the application
  • be intending to re-establish in the defined bushfire disaster area.

An applicant may also be eligible for a grant if the NPO is located outside a defined bushfire disaster area but operates part-time or on some regular basis within a defined bushfire disaster area and that non-profit organisation's plant and/or equipment was damaged.

The maximum grant amount for clean-up and reinstatement is $50,000. Evidence of the direct damage such as photographs, quotations, tax invoices or official receipts is required.

Note: Multiple applications can be made up to the maximum amount available.

Grants are provided to help pay costs associated with clean up and reinstatement of the non-profit organisation, this may include:

  • engagement of tradesperson to conduct a safety inspection of damage to a property, premises, or equipment
  • purchasing, hiring or leasing equipment or materials to clean a property, premises, or equipment
  • purchasing, hiring or leasing equipment or materials that are essential for immediately resuming operation of the non-profit organisation
  • employing a person to clean a property, premises or equipment if:
    • the cost would not ordinarily have been incurred in the absence of the eligible disaster
    • the cost exceeds the costs of employing a person to clean the property, premises or equipment that would ordinarily have been incurred in the absence of the eligible disaster
  • removing and disposing of debris or damaged materials
  • removing and disposing of spoiled goods and stock due to power outage
  • repairing a building, or repairing or replacing fittings in a building, if the repair or replacement is essential for resuming operation of the non-profit organisation
  • any of the following:
    • replacing lost or damaged stock if the replacement is essential for immediately resuming operation
    • leasing temporary premises for the purpose of resuming operation

What is not eligible?

An applicant is not eligible for assistance under the scheme:

  • for repairs to a building that the applicant lets to a person for residential or commercial purposes, unless the applicant lets the property in the course of operating the small business or NPO (superannuation funds and personal investment vehicles are not regarded as businesses)
  • if the small business or NPO is entitled to receive or has received an amount under a policy of insurance for the relevant costs claimed
  • for any expenses that are claimable under the small business or NPO's insurance policy
  • the small business or NPO has successfully received funding or assistance from any other government source or program or donation where that funding or assistance has met relevant costs claimed
  • for loss of income as a result of the eligible bushfire disaster.

Evidence of direct damage associated with the eligible disaster must be provided as follows:

  • a list of bushfire-related damage supported by photographic evidence of the direct damage
  • other appropriate evidence to prove financial impact if/when the damage is unable to be photographed or receipts are lost due to the extent of the bushfire disaster.

Small business

  • Applicants are able to apply for assistance under the scheme where they are a small business owner.
  • Applicants must retain all tax invoices, official receipts, bank statements, quotations or other similar records for assistance received under the scheme until one year after the closing day for applications.
  • Applicants must consent to the appointed administering agency conducting an audit of quotations, tax invoices, official receipts, bank statements or other similar records to verify the amounts given under the scheme have been used in accordance with the claim. Penalties may apply for false or misleading information.
  • Applicants must provide authorisation for the appointed administering agency to contact their insurance company to confirm or verify entitlements or the outcome of any claims made in relation to the eligible disaster.

Non-profit organisations

  • Applicants are able to apply for assistance under the scheme where they are a non-profit organisation.
  • Applicants must retain all tax invoices, official receipts, bank statements, quotations or other similar records for assistance received under the scheme until one year after the closing day for applications for the eligible disaster.
  • Applicants must consent to the appointed administering agency conducting an audit of quotations, tax invoices, official receipts, bank statements or other similar records to verify the amounts given under the scheme have been used in accordance with the claim. Penalties may apply for false or misleading information.
  • Applicants must provide authorisation for the appointed administering agency to contact their insurance company to confirm or verify entitlements or the outcome of any claims made in relation to the eligible disaster.

Administrating Agency means the responsible agency/department/body for assessing and administrating the small business grant applications.

Defined disaster area or defined bushfire disaster area means the area that the appropriate Minister has defined for the purpose of activating Category C under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements means the funding arrangements as agreed between the Commonwealth and the State for providing financial assistance to communities affected by an eligible disaster (available on the Australian Government Disaster Assist Website).

Eligible disaster means bushfire.

Eligible separate business means a separate small business owned by the same small business owner that would be a commercially viable and autonomous business if the other separate businesses operated by the eligible entity ceased to operate.

Evidence of payment means any of the following:

  • an invoice including the name, address and ABN (if applicable) of the entity that issued the invoice and a description of each item to which the invoice relates and is clearly identifiable as being related to approved expenditure for the applicant and can be related to damage from the eligible disaster
  • a receipt including the name and address and ABN (if applicable) of the entity that issued the receipt and a description of each item to which the receipt relates
  • a copy of the applicant’s bank transfer and/or bank statement.

Full-time employment means an individual who ordinarily works for at least 35 hours each week for the small business.

Public company means a public company within the meaning of the Corporation Act.

Reinstatement means the carrying out of activities that are necessary to help the small business continue or resume production at a similar level as before the eligible disaster.

Small business is a business, other than a farm enterprise that:

  • holds an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • is not a public company, charitable business (charitable business means a business that does not operate to make a profit) or body corporate under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997
  • employs fewer than 20 full time employees. That is, the sum total of all standard hours worked by all employees (whether full-time or part-time) is less than the number of standard hours which would be worked by 20 full-time employees, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • if operated by a sole trader and the business has no employees other than the sole owner:
    • the sole owner must derive the majority of their income from the business unless the applicant can satisfy the administrating agency that the sole trader, immediately before an eligible disaster, derived that majority of income from the business and that the majority of income from the business and that the majority of the sole trader’s income would have come from the small business again, were it not for the eligible disaster; or
    • is a small business in development.

Small business in development means an enterprise that is being developed by an individual and in the opinion of the administrating agency will be developed into a small business that will be carried on by the individual as a sole trader.

Small business owner is a sole trader, partnership, private company or trust that carries on a small business.

Contact

Victorian Bushfire Recovery Grants are administered by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). For queries about eligibility or the application process, or if you wish to query the progress of your application, please email the VCCI Bushfire Recovery Grants team or call on 03 8662 5160.

For more information on bushfire recovery services and support, please see our Bushfire Recovery page.

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