$4 million Small Business Recovery Package for cyclone-hit areas


Posted on 17/05/17 in

Queensland small businesses will receive a helping hand to recover from recent natural disasters after the Palaszczuk Government announced a $4 million recovery package today.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Operation Queensland Recovery: State Recovery Plan 2017-19 committed $1.5 million for small business grants; $2 million for the Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing Go Local campaign, and $550,000 for dedicated workshops and mentoring services for impacted small businesses.

“The Whitsunday region suffered some of the most extensive cyclone damage - the community was without water and power for days, and business owners across the region face the mammoth task of rebuilding,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“We will provide new $10,000 grants of unmatched funding to eligible small businesses.

“It is a dedicated grants program – in addition to Category C funding - to help small businesses recover, rebuild and employ.

“We are also providing a $2 million funding boost to the Go Local campaign, which is encouraging Queenslanders to help businesses and industries impacted by Cyclone Debbie.

“The Go Local – keep Queensland going strong initiative is about encouraging people to buy from their local business and help a fellow Queenslander bounce back.

“Go Local gives businesses access to an online hub www.qld.gov.au/golocal that will assist them in promoting their goods and services to Queenslanders."

Small Business Minister Leeanne Enoch – who inspected cyclone-impacted small businesses in Proserpine today - said the recovery package will include $300,000 for workshops to support businesses to recover from natural disasters and $250,000 for tailored mental health and disaster mentoring services for impacted small businesses.

“Investment is needed to sustain jobs and build business confidence, and the Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring that small businesses are supported in getting back on their feet as soon as possible,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Small Business Recovery Package will help operators develop business plans, mentoring, re-training, financial counselling and exploring new options for sustainability, such as diversification and new products.”

Ms Enoch said the Small Business Recovery Package will complement the immediate clean-up and reinstatement activities being undertaken with the support of activated joint Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) relief measures, including Category C grants for small business.

“So far the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority (QRAA) has approved 99 Category C grant applications (in the Whitsunday region) totalling more than $450,000 in funding,” Ms Enoch said. 

“There is up to $25,000 available, including an initial grant amount of up to $5000 to pay for costs arising out of direct damage caused by Cyclone Debbie. This could be to make building repairs, replace damaged office equipment or pay for rubbish removal.

“Businesses have until 13 October 2017 to apply for Category C assistance,” she said.

Karen Vloedmans, from the Proserpine Chamber of Commerce, said small businesses in the region are working tirelessly to re-open their doors.

“In the week where small business is celebrating (Queensland Small Business Week), we all wish to communicate that Proserpine is most certainly open for business,” Ms Vloedmans said. 

“While many are open for business and are welcoming back customers, others continue to face frustrating challenges.

“Despite financial stress, and emotional and physical fatigue, the people of Proserpine still demonstrate such a resilient spirit.”

Proserpine small business owner Cathy Selman, of Epicure Homewares, echoed the sentiments of the Chamber of Commerce.

“My homewares store was flooded twice – once by the cyclone and then again with the storm surge that happened the next day,” said Ms Selman.

“We were without power for 10 days and were only able to open for trading last week.

“Whilst there’s still repairs happening to my business premises, I believe we are on the up, with more businesses starting to open and trade.”

Ms Enoch will also travel to Mackay this afternoon to attend a Time to Thrive masterclass as part of 2017 Queensland Small Business Week.

“This masterclasses will champion the importance of technology, promote a culture of entrepreneurship and reinforce to small business owners that it’s their time to thrive,” she said.

To discover more about 2017 QSBW or to search for an event near you, visit www.business.qld.gov.au/smallbusinessweek or download the 2017 QSBW app.

Small business owners can apply for Category C clean up and recovery grants and Category B concessional loans through the QRAA at www.qraa.qld.gov.au or by calling 1800 623 946. Small businesses can view details on Business Queensland www.business.qld.gov.au

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