A small business bushfire assistance package announced by the federal government today echoes what I have been hearing from dozens of small business owners in affected communities.

It’s vital that it flows quickly.

The package – including $50,000 grants, interest-free loans of up to $500,000 and tax concessions for eligible businesses – is very welcome. I wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison requesting this type of support and I’ve also had discussions with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt about the fires’ impact.

Since December 30 there’s been direct, physical damage in Walwa, Corryoing and neaby Upper Murray communities, and extensive disruption in Tallangatta, High Country, Kiewa, Ovens and King valleys and Indigo Shire communities.

We need to do all that we can to support our businesses and people’s jobs during this initial recovery period and make sure that our priority is delivering help where it’s needed on the ground.

It’s also highly likely that fresh needs will emerge in the next few weeks and months as people get back on their feet.

You can read about the package here or contact my office:

T 03 5721 7077 or 02 6024 6284

Email helen.haines.mp@aph.gov.au

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