Access to initial funding for flood-affected north Queensland small businesses has been increased, with half of the $50,000 Special Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants available upfront through the jointly funded Commonwealth-Queensland Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DFRA).
Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman welcomed the increase after the Premier wrote to the Prime Minister recommending the boost to the upfront payment to urgently help small businesses carry out repairs and recommence trading.
“Cashflow is the lifeblood of small business and more small businesses need to be able to quickly and easily access the available disaster assistance funding to support their recovery from this event,” Ms Fentiman said.
“The feedback we received was it was restrictive to the recovery process with the initial grant capped at $10,000 and this has been increased to $25,000.”
Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the Small Business Recovery Centre opened in February in Townsville to bring immediate support and enable small businesses to access services from across all three levels of government.
“To date, the centre has been contacted more than 1100 times by small businesses looking for advice, support and referrals with issues around insurance, loss of income, leasing and legal issues as they aim to not just recover from this disaster but get their operations growing again,” Ms O’Rourke said.
“This includes information about the DRFA Category B loans and Category C grants that had been made available to small businesses in the declared areas.”
This financial assistance is managed by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA).
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart welcomed the increase of initial payments to small businesses.
“This updated exemption will allow impacted small businesses to access up to half – that is $25,000 – of the Category C recovery grant upfront upon presentation of evidence of damage and likely expenditure,” Mr Stewart said.
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said these expanded payments will be vital to the region’s recovery.
“The relaxation of the grant criteria will enable small businesses to access funds more quickly in order to bring their businesses back on line, especially whilst insurance claims are progresses,” Mr Harper said.
Small business owners impacted by flooding can call the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) on 1800 623 946 for assistance and information on the grants and concessional loans that are available, visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au or drop into the Small Business Recovery Centre at 143 Walker Street, Townsville.