Mansfield Shire Businesses Now Eligible for $10,000 Bushfire Support Grants
Thursday, 4 June, 2020 - 15:30
Mansfield Shire businesses are now eligible for the $10,000 Small Business Bushfire Support Grants jointly funded by the Victorian and Commonwealth governments.
Mansfield Shire Mayor, Cr Marg Attley OAM said Council had lobbied continuously behind the scenes for the grants program to include Mansfield businesses after many of them were severely impacted by the declaration of the State of Disaster on 3 January.
“Yes, businesses in our Shire were not affected by flames but many recorded significant losses - between 70 and 80% - because of the emergency, and yet, initially, our Shire was not included in the program,” Cr Attley said.
“Our Economic Development team has been collecting data direct from small businesses across the Shire. On average these businesses are able to demonstrate a 70% to 80% loss during this period as compared to previous years, with some as great as 98%. A significant contributor to this impact was the closure of parks and State forests as part of the declaration of the State of Disaster,” she said.
When the program was first announced, businesses at Mt Buller Resort (which is geographically located within Mansfield Shire) were eligible for the grants but the wider Mansfield business community was not.
David Littleproud, federal Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management and Lisa Neville, state Minister for Police and Emergency services, made the announcement yesterday that Indigo, Mansfield, Wangaratta and Wellington shire businesses are now included in the program.
“This is great news for our business community whose businesses have had an extremely difficult start to the year, continuing in recent months with restrictions due to the Coronavirus,” Cr Attley said.
Council worked with Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines to push for inclusion.
“We would like to thank Dr Haines for her tireless persistence in working to correct the anomaly. Having Dr Haines support our efforts has produced this result,” she said.
The grant is available for eligible businesses who have lost significant income as a result of the fires, whether they were directly flame affected or not. Businesses are also able to have their applications assessed under exceptional circumstances if they don’t meet the specific eligibility criteria.