Bushfire-affected farmers, small business and not-for-profit organisations in Southern Queensland now have access to low-interest loans to help get them up and running again.
The loans will be available in affected parts of the Southern Downs Regional Council and Scenic Rim Council areas.
Federal Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said loans of up to $250,000 are available to those who suffered a direct loss from the fires.
“These loans will help farmers, business and charities get back to work,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Loans of up to $100,000 are also available for those who had indirect losses, such as loss of profit.
“This makes affordable finance easy to access for those who need it most.
“Anyone interested can go to disasterassist.gov.au or call 1800 623 946 to see if they’re eligible.”
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.”
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.