Jane Howlett,Minister for Small Business
Michael Ferguson,Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
Businesses affected by the recent closure of the Tasman Highway will be able to apply for a Business Hardship Critical Support Grant from this coming Friday 11 June, providing much-needed support during this unprecedented event.
Significant progress on the rock removal has been made at Paradise Gorge since the road’s closure, allowing experts to provide an estimate on how much more rock needs to be removed and how long it will take to clean up the site.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, said the project would move to the next phase focussed on removing the more difficult to access rocks and cleaning the rock face and slope of the large amount of loose debris and broken boulders.
“Our estimates at this stage is that we expect to reopen the Tasman Highway in mid-July, but we’ll be doing everything possible to minimise the time taken to complete this work, keeping safety at the forefront of our minds,” Minister Ferguson said.
Minister for Small Business, Jane Howlett, said that given the timeframe for the interruption is now better understood, the Government would immediately offer a Business Hardship Critical Support Grant for impacted businesses of between $2,500 and $25,000.
Up to $1 million has been allocated to these grants, with the program guidelines to be released tomorrow and applications opening this Friday 11 June.
Grants will be available to businesses located south of Lake Leake road, or in one of the following towns being Buckland, Orford, Triabunna, Little Swanport and Swansea, as well as those businesses who can demonstrate that they are part of the supply chain through the delivery of essential goods and services in and out of the area.
“To be eligible for support of more than $2,500, businesses must demonstrate a loss in turnover of greater than 30 per cent from 28 May 2021 in comparison to the previous month prior to the road closure.
“Importantly, these grants will be available to businesses so they can support their employees through this difficult time, with a set of criteria developed to make the process as efficient and easy as possible,” Minister Howlett said.
First and foremost, we want to acknowledge the difficult impact this is having on the community and that’s why we have announced this targeted support for businesses today, as well as the range of transport, freight, education and health supports provided over the past 10 days.
Applications will be assessed by a Departmental assessment team for consideration by an independent panel, including a representative from the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and representatives from the Tasmanian Development and Resources Board. Grant payments will commence in early July. Consistent with other hardship grant programs specific details of grant recipients will not be disclosed.
Once all the rocks and gravel have been removed from the road, a full assessment of the road and retaining wall will be done to assess what further repairs will be required.
Importantly, road users are reminded to drive with caution on Wielangta Road during the expected wet conditions this week. Wielangta Road was graded over the weekend to prepare for the expected rainfall and the road condition will continue to be monitored and repaired as necessary.
We again thank the community for their patience and for continuing to work with us during this unexpected and serious event. We will continue to keep the public updated on progress of the work.