Grants for fire-affected small business

Small businesses struggling in the wake of the smoke crisis will be able to apply for State Government grants, following the announcement of a $2 million pool of funding.

On Monday afternoon Premier Denis Napthine said the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry would administer grants of between $1000 and $10,000 to businesses with less than 20 employees.

Applications can be lodged throughout March and will be assessed by an independent panel of business specialists.

“Clearly it will be based on a demonstrated record of lower turnover,” Dr Napthine said.

“I’d urge business-owners to keep reasonable records. We don’t expect them to be pristine and perfect, but we expect to have some reasonable justification for access to these funds.”

Member for Morwell Russell Northe said the fund would be a “significant boost” to the small business sector.

“Support right here and now is critical,” Mr Northe said.

The government will also provide low-interest concessional loans of up to $200,000 to affected businesses and is seeking support from the Federal Government to increase the program.