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Cash grants for small business impacted by recent bushfires.

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Media Release The Hon Joe Hockey MP Minister for Small Business and Tourism

6 March 2003 03/035


The Federal Government today announced cash grants of $3,000 through the Small Business Bushfire Relief Program for small businesses and farmers impacted by the recent bushfires, such as those in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

Bushfire affected areas like the Snowy Mountains, north-east Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory rely even more on tourism dollars during times of hardship and these cash grants will help them get back on their feet again.

This program is aimed at assisting small businesses (including farmers and tourism operators) who are most impacted by the recent bushfires.

This assistance will be provided through grants of $3,000 to small businesses in most need of assistance, and who can show that they have:

• less than 20 (full time equivalent) employees; and • either incurred additional expenses or suffered a loss of income as a result of these bushfires.

In addition grants of $10,000 may be available for extreme cases.

The grants can be used by small businesses to meet any additional expenses and/or lost income, such as retaining staff and meeting repayments for loans or leases on capital stock.

Program funding of $2m is available. Applications will be assessed according to relative business impact. Those businesses most affected will receive support.

Any business that feels that they may be eligible for this assistance should register their interest by ringing the AusIndustry hotline 13 28 46 as soon as possible. Registrations will be accepted up to 28 March 2003.

The primary objective of this program is to provide immediate assistance to small businesses, so those affected are urged to lodge their applications as soon as possible. All regional communities should get in touch with anyone they know who has had additional expenses and/or suffered a loss of income as a result of the recent bushfires and make

them aware of the program.

The Federal Government is acutely aware of the hardships suffered by regional communities as a result of recent events and through the Small Business Bushfire Relief Program regional small businesses, including tourism operators and farmers that have suffered from bushfires in recent months can apply for help.

Media contact: Sasha Grebe, 02 9929 9822

CMR 03-037