The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Victorian Chamber) and the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) welcome the announcement by the Andrews Government of an additional $64 million bushfire recovery package for disaster declared areas across the State.
This extra funding responds to evidence and recommendations from the Victorian Chamber and VTIC on measures that will help ease financial and regulation pressure on disaster affected businesses.
Since the fires started the Victorian Chamber and VTIC have engaged extensively with members and businesses in fire affected areas to understand how their businesses have been impacted and what assistance would help. Four areas of concern were raised by business and communicated to Government:
- Fast track clean-up and restoration by opening roads, fixing infrastructure and providing immediate financial assistance to help directly affected businesses
- Cut the cost of operating a business by removing taxes, fees and other costs, including payroll tax, stamp duty and land taxes, council rates and fees for licences and other regulation, and the cost of training staff
- Support business through the cashflow crisis from lack of visitors in January and unprecedented cancellations of forward bookings by providing direct financial support
- Bring visitors and trade back to directly and indirectly affected parts of Victoria through marketing and local procurement initiatives.
The Victorian Chamber and VTIC presented this evidence to the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments, which has helped shape the assistance available as detailed on the following page.
The Victorian Chamber and VTIC are also continuing to support members and fire affected businesses with a 12-month, $500,000 support package.
Services include mental health support from access to the Victorian Chamber’s Employment Assistance program, local training and business mentoring, Workplace Relations Advice Line and membership fee waiver for bushfire-affected members over the next year.
For more information, visit https://victorianchamber.com.au/bushfires, call the Victorian Chamber on: 03 8662 5333 or email the team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistance available to Victorian businesses in fire affected areas:
- Clean-up and restoration grants of up to $50,000 (tax free).
- Concessional loans of up to $500,000 for businesses that have suffered significant asset loss or loss of
- Tax relief with an extension of the deadline to lodge business activity statements and income tax returns,
and immediate regional payroll tax relief so that regional employers only pay 25 per cent of the
metropolitan rate. Businesses can also delay and refund Pay-as-you-go instalments to free up cashflow
during this difficult time.
- A 50 per cent concession on stamp duty, allowing businesses to relocate, expand or move into the fireaffected
- Waiving water rates for 12 months for all homes or businesses destroyed or significantly damaged by
fire, and providing rebates for customers affected by interruptions to their water supply.
- A Small Business Bushfire Financial Support Line and small business advisers stationed at relief centres
to give businesses the support and advice they need.
- Smoke taint testing and technical support at affected wineries to ensure the industry is best placed for
this years’ vintage.
- The Victorian Government’s ‘Business & Sport for Bushfire Recovery’ program, which encourages
organisations to hold meetings, events or conferences in a bushfire-affected region.
- $76 million tourism recovery package as part of the National Bushfire Recovery Fund.