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10 January 2020

Bushfire assistance for small and family business

It is important that you seek support as soon as possible. We urge all small business owners, directly and indirectly, affected by the bushfires to ACT EARLY – for business recovery advice, talk to your accountant, bookkeeper or small business adviser.

All levels of government are working to support small and family businesses survive and recover from the current bushfires.


What do you need to pack if you need to evacuate your business?

Preparation is key. This Grab and Go Checklist includes a list of suggested items to keep in a secure location which will help you during and after an emergency.


Need to lodge an insurance claim?

If you know your insurer, work directly with them. If you have lost your records call the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA). ICA is working closely with state governments and emergency services and is operating a 24-hour hotline – 1800 734 621 – to help fire victims with general information about claims and recovery.


Problems with your insurer or repairer?

If you have problems with your insurer or repairer, or need to negotiate with credit providers, free legal services throughout Australia can help.

The Insurance Law Service provides free legal advice and support. If you find yourself in dispute with your insurer, you can call ASBFEO on 1300 650 460 or AFCA on 1800 931 678.


Is your next BAS due?

If your business is in one of the impacted areas, the ATO has automatically granted deferrals for business activity statement (BAS) lodgement and payments. A list of postcodes and deferral dates can be found on the ATO website. There is also a contact number if your postcode is not listed.


How can you best support your staff?

If you need to temporarily close, you may be able to stand down staff in some circumstances. Detailed information can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.


Are you eligible for a government allowance/payment?

Mobile Service Centres and Teams from the Department of Human Services are providing emergency support in bushfire affected areas, providing people with access to Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services. To find the mobile centre or team nearest to you, visit the Human Services website.


What support is available for farmers?

The National Farmers' Federation’s FarmHub is a one-stop shop for details on assistance with fodder, water, transport, everyday living expenses, health and more. Bushfire assistance contacts and resources are regularly updated.


Where else can you find relevant business information?

Information on what the federal government is doing to help individuals, businesses, communities and local governments recover from the bushfires, including disaster recovery payments, can be found on the DisasterAssist website.


How can you maintain the wellbeing of you and your family?

We understand this time can be extremely stressful. Beyond Blue’s bushfires and mental health web page contains practical advice about dealing with the emotional impact of bushfire, information about the signs and symptoms of emotional distress, tips for supporting children and young people, and links to useful resources.


What about the wellbeing of your business?

Many small business owners directly or indirectly impacted by the bushfires will be eager to get back on their feet, so keeping on top of the business basics and maintaining mental wellbeing is paramount. Our My Business Health portal provides links and resources to help support small business owners experiencing mental health issues as a result of day-to-day concerns about their business.


Further business specific information, containing additional links and resources, is available from the website.