Applying for assistance

Many Morwell traders have filed their assistance applications for grants between $1000 and $10,000 following the Hazelwood mine fire.

The State Government’s $2 million fund to provide assistance directly to businesses affected by the fire closes today.

The Morwell Traders group, a sub-group of Advance Morwell, met last week to discuss the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry-administered fund available to owner-managers of actively trading businesses who employ fewer than 20 people and can demonstrate a loss as a result of the fire.

Retail business owner Ruth Codlin said the group’s motto was “resilience” and planned to promote Morwell’s businesses to bring trade back into the town.

Ms Codlin said many businesses were positive about the grant and had been encouraged to apply.

“We’re hopeful that those applications will be processed quickly to assist with cash flow,” Ms Codlin said.

The Commercial Road business owner said the fire had been stressful on many businesses with ash in shops, challenges to make equitable arrangements for staff, health issues, slow retail trade, and appointment cancellations in the service industry.

“The thing about it is, that might not affect our financial situation now, but the effects of that will be felt in the coming months, because the buffer money that we’ve had isn’t going to be there, so that’s where the grants will be really helpful,” Ms Codlin said.

Morwell Newspower partner Ray Burgess said most small business owners had applied for the grant, but many were unsure about eligibility.

“People are going to put in the request and see what happens. In my case, I’m hoping for money to do some promotion,” Mr Burgess said.

“Things seems to be getting back to normal and getting back into the normal patterns of life.”