What is the Victorian Bushfires Concessional Loans?
The Victorian Bushfires Concessional Loans is a program to support small business, primary producers and non-profit organisations impacted by the Victorian bushfires that commenced 21 November 2019.
These loans are available in the local council areas of Ararat, Alpine, Ballarat, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Greater Bendigo, Indigo, Mansfield, Moyne, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, Southern Grampians, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, Wellington and Wodonga and the Alpine Resorts of Mount Buller, Mount Hotham, Mount Stirling and Falls Creek.
The Victorian Bushfire Concessional Loans are jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian State Government under the Disaster Recovery Arrangements.
Concessional Loans of up to $500,000 are available to assist those entities which have suffered significant damage to their assets and/or significant loss of income.
Concessional loans are provided to re-establish the normal operations of the business. The loans are intended to be used for the purposes of restoring and/or replacing damaged assets and/or for working capital expenses that cannot be met due to a loss of income.
Asset replacement: Costs of restoring and/or replacing damaged small business, primary producer or non-profit organisation assets in accordance with current codes and standards. This includes costs such as:
- repairing or replacing damaged plant and equipment;
- repairing or replacing buildings;
- supplying stock to replace lost stock and maintain liquidity of the business;
- purchasing livestock to replace those that have been lost in the eligible disaster; or
- replanting, restoring, or re-establishing areas that were affected by the eligible disaster (associated with a primary production enterprise).
Working capital: Essential expenses while the business returns to its normal level of trading, such as:
- paying bills
- paying salaries or wages
- paying rent and rates
- paying for goods or services, including for example fuel, essential to carry-on the business
- buying fodder or water for livestock or produce (associated with a primary production enterprise); or
- transporting livestock or produce (associated with a primary production enterprise).
To be eligible for a loan the applicant must:
- be a small business owner, primary production enterprise or a non-profit organisation;
- hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at the time of the eligible disaster, or in the case of a non-profit organisation be an incorporated charity or non-profit entity which is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) or an equivalent State regulatory body at the time of the eligible disaster;
- own a small business, primary producer enterprise or be a non-profit organisation located in the defined disaster area for the eligible disaster;
- have been engaged in carrying on the business, farming activity or be a non-profit organisation when affected by the eligible disaster;
- be primarily responsible for meeting the costs claimed in the application;
- be intending to re-establish or continue carrying on the business or non-profit organisation or conducting the farming activity within the same Local Government Area;
- have suffered:
- significant damage to assets as a direct result of the eligible disaster; or
- significant loss of income as a direct result of the eligible disaster (such as a loss in trade due to evacuation, road closures and reduced visitor numbers);
- demonstrate that the business, primary production enterprise or non-profit organisation has reasonable prospects of long-term viability with the assistance provided;
- use the funds for the approved purpose only;
- demonstrate that the business, primary production enterprise or non-profit organisation has the capacity to repay the loan;
- provide adequate security and loans should generally be secured by:
- a mortgage of land and other assets satisfactory to Rural Finance (a division of Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Limited and the Victorian delivery agency); or
- any other security considered necessary, for example – a Specific Security Agreement over plant and machinery or a General Securities Agreement;
- demonstrate the business, primary production enterprise or non-profit organisation has not received another concessional loan for loss or damage that was related to the eligible disaster or where a concessional loan has been received it is replaced with a loan under this offering; and
- demonstrate excessive risks were not taken in carrying on the small business, non-profit organisation or primary production enterprise.
You may also be eligible for a loan if both of the following apply:
- the small business, primary production enterprise or non-profit organisation is located outside the defined disaster area for the eligible disaster but is operated at least sometimes on a regular basis in the area; and
- plant or equipment of the small business owner, primary producer or non-profit organisation is situated in the defined disaster area and has been damaged as a result of the eligible disaster.
Business with a turnover of less than $50 million, with 20 or more employees, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Applications close 31 August 2020.