Bushfire relief welcome, more assistance needed

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed a new $10,000 grant for small businesses impacted by the recent bushfires, as well as simplified access to existing loans and other services.

The newly launched Bushfire Affected Small Business Rebuild package will be available to impacted small businesses in selected local government areas and funded under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

"This grant and its extended terms come as a result of strong and consistent advocacy by the ATA, our members and other business groups," ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said.

"However, we're calling for the package to be extended to all businesses who have been impacted by the bushfires, not just those located in affected areas," he said.

To be eligible, businesses must be located within a selected local government area and have experienced a 40 per cent drop in revenue over a three-month period, compared to the previous year, as a result of the bushfires.

"These fires have had an unprecedented impact on trucking businesses and their employees. Some have lost their homes, workplaces or equipment. Others have been dealing with prolonged time away from their families, suffering financial loss and personal hardship as a result of road closures and lengthy delays," Mr Crouch said.

"While some of these businesses are located in identified bushfire-affected areas, many are not. They should receive the same level of support.

"For example, the ATA has argued on behalf of trucking businesses in South Australia and Western Australia that owner drivers and other operators held up by the long closure of the Eyre and Coolgardie Esperance highways should be able to get help," he said.

The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.

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