Floods: $50,000 in new funding available to SMEs — here’s who’s eligible, and how to apply

flood-support floods

Source: Unsplash/Jonathan Ford

This article was updated at 2.30pm on Wednesday March 9, 2022, to include additional information from Service NSW.

As the flooding crisis continues in New South Wales and Queensland, two new funding packages are set to provide grants of up to $50,000 for affected small businesses. Applications are open now for businesses in both states.

The new state and federal government-funded programs will see a total of $558.5 million invested in community support in Queensland, and $434.7 million invested in NSW.

“Many small businesses and not-for-profits are experiencing loss of infrastructure, equipment, stock and trading,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement.

“Through these grants we’re here to help them in their recovery.”

A statement from the federal government said this is the ‘first phase’ of support for affected communities.

The Commonwealth and state governments are “focused on giving small businesses and not-for-profits the tools they need to clean-up, rebuild and keep operating”, Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience Bridget McKenzie said.

Here’s what we know so far:

New South Wales

What’s available for small businesses?

In NSW, small businesses and not-for-profits will be able to apply for grants of up to $50,000.

Primary producers will be able to apply for up to $75,000.

For small businesses, an initial grant of $15,000 is available, based on evidence of direct damage and quotes for repair and reopening costs.

An additional $35,000 will be available to reimburse business owners for recovery and reopening costs.

Worth $434.7 million in total, the funding also includes $1 million grants to support affected councils with social, building, economic and environmental needs.

Some $6.5 million has been pledged to provide ‘community recovery officers’ and $210 million will be available to help with cleanup of flood and storm related damage, debris and green waste.

Who’s eligible?

It is thought the funding will be available to businesses in 17 affected local government areas: Armidale, Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Hornsby, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Nambucca, Port Macquarie/Hastings, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, The Hills and Tweed.

These grants are specifically for businesses affected by the floods in February and March 2022.

In order to be eligible, businesses must have suffered ‘direct damage’, meaning “a direct and material impact on business assets or equipment”.

The applicant must be responsible for meeting the costs included in the claim, and must intend to reopen the business within the same area.

Businesses must also have held a valid ABN, and have been in operation, at the time of the floods.

Sole traders may also apply, if they can show they derive the majority of their income from their business.

If a single applicant is responsible for multiple small businesses, they may apply for the full grant funding for each.

What are the payments for?

Grants can be used to cover clean-up and recovery activities including (and not limited to) the costs of payment for tradespeople to conduct safety inspections; equipment and materials for cleaning up or resuming operations; or removal of debris and damaged stock.

The payments can also cover payment for a cleaner, or for repairing premises and internal fittings.

Business owners can also claim for essential costs for resuming operations, such as the lease on a temporary premises, replacing or repairing vehicles or replacing lost and damaged stock.

What’s not covered?

The grants cannot be used to cover loss of income.

While this funding is available in addition to other support packages, businesses cannot claim for expenses that have already been covered by other payments.

The grants are also not available for expenses a business is claiming — or is entitled to claim — under its insurance policy.

Claims cannot be used to cover repairs to buildings that are being let out for residential or commercial purposes.

How to apply

Applications are open now via Service NSW.

For the first $15,000 in grant funding, small business owners must provide an itemised list of the direct damage, including photographic evidence.

They must also provide quotes for any work or replacement equipment or stock, plus any supporting evidence such as damage assessments or receipts.

Businesses in ‘highly-impacted suburbs’ only need to provide the list of damages they’re claiming for and photographic evidence. You can find out if you’re in a highly-impacted suburb here.

For the additional $35,000, business owners must provide evidence of full payment for repairs and services, totalling the full amount of the grant application.

If the total grant application is for less than $50,000, business owners can submit a second claim to cover additional costs at a later date.

To complete the application, business owners will need a MyService NSW account; proof of identity; their ABN; insurance details if applicable; and business banking details.

Grant applications may be audited in the future, so applicants are advised to keep all documents and supporting evidence handy.

You can find out more details about how to apply, and start the process here.

Queensland

What’s available for small businesses?

In Queensland, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations will be able to apply for grants of up to $50,000.

Primary producers will be eligible for grants of up to $75,000, and sporting and community clubs and associations will be able to apply for up to $20,000.

For small businesses, an initial grant of $15,000 is available, based on evidence of direct damage. An additional $35,000 will be available to reimburse business owners for recovery and reopening costs.

Who’s eligible?

The new funding is expected to be available to affected small businesses in 19 local government areas: Brisbane, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Goondiwindi, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Noosa, North Burnett, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.

The $75,000 grants for primary producers are only available in local government areas that have activated for DFRA Category B primary producer assistance. These are the same LGAs as listed above, with the exception of Gladstone and Goondiwindi.

The funds are available in addition to other available grant and funding packages.

In order to be eligible for the small business grants, applicants must be a small business owner holding an ABN at the time of the disaster.

Applicants must be able to show they are located within one of the specified LGAs, and that they have been affected by the flood crisis in February and March 2022.

Applicants must be ‘primarily responsible’ for the costs incurred, and have been engaged in running the business at the time of the disaster.

Business owners must also intend to re-open the business in the same area.

If a business is insured, owners must also provide full details on their insurance policy, and any claims they have made. Grants may not be processed until the outcome of any insurance claim is finalised.

What are the payments for?

The payments can be used for eligible clean-up and reinstatement activities, and emergent measures.

That could include: the cost of equipment and materials to undertake the clean-up; additional labour costs; disposal of damaged goods and stock; repairs to buildings and equipment; purchase or hire of equipment to re-start business; payments for tradespeople; and repairs to premises that are not covered by insurance.

Business owners cannot apply for grant funding to cover loss of income.

How to apply

Applications are open now, until September 5, 2022, through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority.

For the first $15,000 in grant funding, small business owners must provide direct evidence of damage, such as photographs, quotes for repairs, tax invoices or receipts.

For the additional $35,000, business owners must provide evidence of full payment for repairs and services.

Business owners are advised to take photographs to assist with their application.

More detail on eligibility and how to apply is available here.

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