Disaster assistance has been activated for primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations affected by the unprecedented bushfires in the Southern Downs Regional Council and Scenic Rim Council areas.
Federal Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the Commonwealth and Queensland governments were working together to support recovery efforts following an early start to the fire season.
“These fires have burnt through more than 55,000 hectares statewide, affecting businesses and primary producers, both directly and indirectly,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Impacted primary producers, small businesses and not for profits in Scenic Rim and Southern Downs can now access concessional loans and freight subsidies to help get them back on their feet.
“The Commonwealth and Queensland governments will continue to work closely to support ongoing recovery efforts and identify where further assistance can be provided.”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Category B assistance under the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) was activated based on damage reports collated by Queensland Government agencies.
“Southern Queensland has been battling severe bushfires and these fires will have immediate and ongoing economic consequences for local businesses,” Mr Furner said.
“Most damage observed to-date is fire damage to fencing, hail netting, poly tanks and poly pipes and the loss of already scarce pastures. Fortunately, there are not widespread reports of livestock losses.
Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman said the joint State and Federal Category B assistance had been activated for Scenic Rim and Southern Downs in response to the unprecedented event which had seen homes, businesses and industry destroyed.
“The impact of these bushfires is being felt by a number of our hardworking farmers and small businesses in the Southern Downs and Scenic Rim regions,” Ms Fentiman said.
“Many of these businesses rely on tourism as their main source of income and are already reporting cancellations for accommodation and a downturn in trade. This situation is only exacerbated by prolonged drought.
“I also urge Queenslanders to purchase their goods and services locally. Small businesses are the lifeblood of these communities and they need our support.”
The Category B assistance include concessional loans of up to $250,000 for those who suffered direct damage and concessional loans of up to $100,000 for those who did not suffer direct damage, but suffered loss of income as a direct result of the bushfires.
Freight subsidies of up to $5,000 for primary producers are also available to assist with recovery, including shipment of materials, fodder and water, as well as the removal of livestock from burnt pastures.