Storms, rain and flash flooding: Here’s what support the federal and state governments and banks have announced for SMEs on the east coast

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Source: Unsplash/Jonathan Ford

Support for small businesses affected by flooding in parts of New South Wales and southeast Queensland has been announced by federal and state governments and the big four banks.

The support comes after the New South State Emergency Service issued evacuation orders in Western Sydney and lower parts of the Blue Mountains over the weekend, following levels of flooding of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River unseen since 1961.

For southern parts of Queensland, the Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning, saying there is a possibility of flash flooding in 14 catchment areas.

Here’s the flood support for businesses that the federal and state governments and banks have so far announced.

What’s the federal government offering?

On Sunday, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the activation of the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance (AGDRP) for 18 NSW local government areas.

Under the AGDRP, residents who have lost their livelihoods due to a disaster can access a short-term income payment through the DRA for up to 13 weeks.

Eligible residents affected by the storms and floods can also apply for a one-off payment of $1,000 for adults and $400 for children.

Announcing the relief on Sunday, the Morrison government encouraged residents affected by the floods to claim the support payments by calling Services Australia on 180 22 66.

What’s the NSW government offering?

The NSW government is offering flood support for businesses through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), which is jointly funded by the federal government and the states and territories.

In response to the storms and floods, the DRFA has been activated in 34 local government areas. The full list of areas is available here.

Assistance for eligible small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations includes concessional interest rate loans of up to $130,000. These loans may be used to meet carry-on requirements or to repair or replace damaged property not covered by insurance.

The DRFA also supports businesses impacted by floods to access tax relief.

Further information is available at this Small Business Commissioner website.

What’s the Queensland state government offering?

Like New South Wales, Queensland works alongside the federal government to deliver the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). However, no formal announcement regarding support for SMEs has been announced.

Small businesses are encouraged to refer to Business Queensland’s website for resources about what your business should do during a natural disaster.

Business Queensland recommends businesses that have been forced to close or reduce operations to call 1300 731 988 for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland’s Employer Assistance Line for support.

What flood support are the big four banks offering?

Commonwealth Bank

Commonwealth Bank is providing emergency assistance to its business and insurance customers in NSW flood-affected areas.

Small business customers can contact the bank to request customised payment arrangements for home and personal loans, as well as credit card loans. Customers can also request fee waivers, temporary overdrafts and emergency credit limit increases on their loans.

For CommInsure customers, Commonwealth Bank can assist with emergency accommodation if a customer’s home has been damaged and can fast-track claims for people seeking help through their home and contents insurance.

Information about Commonwealth Bank’s support options is available at this website.

National Australia Bank

National Australia Bank (NAB) is offering its business customers in NSW flood-affected areas assistance as part of a disaster relief package.

The package includes access to credit card and personal loan relief as well as the waiving of application fees and charges for withdrawing term deposits early.

NAB customers can also request application fee waivers for restructuring business loans and request to defer principal and leasing payments.

Further information is available here.

Westpac

Westpac’s emergency assistance for flood-affected customers in NSW includes a range of options for both business and insurance customers.

Westpac business customers can request to defer home loan and credit card repayments for up to three months.

Customers who need to purchase replacement goods can apply for personal loans at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee. They can also restructure their loans without paying fees.

Westpac is offering eligible home and contents insurance customers access to emergency funds and temporary accommodation under the terms of their policy. For assistance, call Westpac Assist on 1800 067 497.

ANZ

ANZ announced it would provide a financial support package to help customers and businesses that have been affected by floods along the east coast of New South Wales.

ANZ encourages customers affected by the floods to contact the bank to discuss range of financial support measures, including pausing payments for up to three months on home loans, credit cards, personal loans and some business loans.

ANZ is also offering temporary interest rate reductions on lending for customers experiencing extreme financial distress and can waive fees for restructuring business loans and for accessing term deposits early.

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