Agriculture Emergency Services | March 01, 2024

Support must flow for bushfire-affected businesses and farms

Member for Lowan and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Emma Kealy has urged the state government to immediately activate support grants for businesses and farms affected by the Grampians bushfires.

The Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grants program ran after fires in eastern Victoria in the summer of 2019-20, and offered grants of up to $50,000 to help businesses pay clean-up costs and reinstate their enterprises.

However the government has not yet opened this program for businesses affected by the devastating bushfire in Pomonal on February 13.

Ms Kealy has also called for the Allan Labor Government to pledge funding for affected farmers in Dadswells Bridge through the Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program, which has previously run in conjunction with the federal government following bushfires in other areas of the state.

About 200 head of stock and hundreds of kilometres of fence lines were destroyed in the Dadswells Bridge fire, with stock and fencing losses in the Pomonal bushfire still to be assessed.

The primary industries grant program provides grants of up to $75,000 for farmers to purchase stock and water, rebuild sheds and fencing, and replace agricultural equipment.

Ms Kealy said it was vital the state government acted quickly to help bushfire-affected residents, with some businesses facing closures if funding support wasn’t delivered very soon.

“Our communities have been absolutely amazing in supporting the people of Pomonal and Dadswells Bridge with donations of cash, goods and services in the past two and a half weeks, but our communities need to know they can also count on the government to deliver these much-needed grants to help them get back their enterprises back up and running effectively,” she said.

“I urge the state government to confirm these important funding responsibilities so that those affected can access support as soon as possible.”

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