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Bushfire assistance for small and family business

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has urged all small business owners, directly and indirectly, affected by the bushfires to act early.

Bushfire assistance for small and family business
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • January 13, 2020
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The ASBFEO has advised small business affected by the bushfire crisis to talk to their accountants, bookkeeper or representative from their nearest Business Enterprise Centre and seek support as soon as possible.

The Ombudsman has compiled a list of measures aimed to assist impacted businesses, with further business specific information available from the business.gov.au website.

Need to lodge an insurance claim?

If you know your insurer, work directly with them. If you have lost your records call the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA). ICA is working closely with state governments and emergency services and is operating a 24-hour hotline – 1800 734 621 – to help fire victims with general information about claims and recovery.

Is your next BAS due?

If your business is in one of the impacted areas, the ATO has automatically granted deferrals for business activity statement (BAS) lodgement and payments. A list of postcodes and deferral dates can be found on the ATO website. There is also a contact number if your postcode is not listed.

How can you best support your staff?

If you need to temporarily close, you may be able to stand down staff in some circumstances. Detailed information can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Are you eligible for a government allowance/payment?

Mobile Service Centres and Teams from the Department of Human Services are providing emergency support in bushfire affected areas, providing people with access to Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services. To find the mobile centre or team nearest to you, visit the Human Services website.

What support is available for farmers?

The National Farmers' Federation’s FarmHub is a one-stop shop for details on assistance with fodder, water, transport, everyday living expenses, health and more. Bushfire assistance contacts and resources are regularly updated.

Where else can you find relevant business information?

Information on what the federal government is doing to help individuals, businesses, communities and local governments recover from the bushfires, including disaster recovery payments, can be found on the DisasterAssist website.

How can you maintain the wellbeing of you and your family?

We understand this time can be extremely stressful. Beyond Blue’s bushfires and mental health web page contains practical advice about dealing with the emotional impact of bushfire, information about the signs and symptoms of emotional distress, tips for supporting children and young people, and links to useful resources.

What about the wellbeing of your business?

Many small business owners directly or indirectly impacted by the bushfires will be eager to get back on their feet, so keeping on top of the business basics and maintaining mental wellbeing is paramount. Our My Business Health portal provides links and resources to help support small business owners experiencing mental health issues as a result of day-to-day concerns about their business.

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